KUMSN Translation Room
The original article, 엄마를 선택하는 순간 고아가 되는 미혼모들, was posted on Hope Version 2.1 in March. 8, 2011. It was translated by Ban, Young-me and proofread by Pamela, volunteers of KUMSN. If you have any question, please contact KUMSN firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Hope Version 2.1] 2011-03-08
Unwedded mothers, who become orphans the moment they choose to be mothers
The reality and challenges of raising a family, and the importance of women working for the growth and prosperity of family, society, and country
People in their twenties and thirties, especially women, are actively involved in a dialogue on the current low birth rate. Many factors surround this discussion. The costs associated with marriage and having children continues to grow which makes providing for a family difficult. Additionally, the number of people delaying marriage and children are increasing as women pursue higher levels of education and enter the workplace to pursue careers.
People will simply say, have more children. Our society has begun to label women who do not have children as traitors. The issue is more complex than this label implies. Although the population has been continuously decreasing, the female labor force, which has had remarkable success in all fields, is a significant resource that cannot be abandoned. An educated workforce, male and female, that contributes to the growth and strength of Korea and its citizens is our future. Our challenge is in the provision of services and resources to support working families and the raising of children.
We cannot deprive women of education or prevent them from working and tell them to just have and raise babies. It is difficult to maintain the standard of living without both spouses working; the traditional image of the family where the father goes to work and supports the family has long been changed, and is no longer relevant in a global economy.
On a comedy show, a man opposing women’s’ rights said that if women keep entering the work force, who is going to look after the cows. But in reality without the female labor force we soon will not be able to afford the cows nor the farm..
National awareness of the mother and child will make the individuals have children
With the situation as it is, just telling people to have children because there is a low birth rate and a high aging population, will not solve the issue. This is an economic and societal problem.
There has been a sudden increase in the numbers of high school and college graduates –this is good news for Korean society. However, without the availability of jobs, our young people do not have the financial resources to enter marriage and raise children.
The low birth rate problem, which is being compounded by an aging population, is not for women alone to solve—it is a problem that requires the strength and focus of our country.. Our society must create an environment of genuine concern and support for mothers and their babies. Having a child is a personal decision. The responsibility of raising a child from birth to a productive citizen must be acknowledged and respected by society
Unwed mothers, who become orphans the moment they choose to be mothers
Our society’s dismissal of having children as women’s work demonstrates attitudes and perception toward unwedded mothers. They become orphans the moment they choose to become mothers. They are completely isolated from their family, the biological father and friends. Based on research, unwedded mothers along with homosexuals are the two classes that are discriminated against the most in our society. Even before they become adults they are deprived of an education as they are expelled from school and as the fatherless child is added onto their family registry they face additional challenges in finding employment. The discrimination undermines the health and safety of the mother and her child
It is difficult enough living with social condemnation for being an unwedded mother, but it is many times more difficult for these women to receive a normal education that is needed to get a job and attain a basic standard of life. These circumstances create a new problem of unwedded mothers’ poverty. Their lives and the lives of their children are one of a struggle to survive. The sacrifices these women make for their children are disregarded.. Based on numerous surveys, what the unwedded mothers want most from their families is their support and respect. Unfortunately, a large percentage of unwedded mothers can’t even tell their family. Pregnancy and birth, when not married, are acts deemed so deviant by society that it is difficult for even family to accept them. The isolation these women endure is heartbreaking.
Premarital sex is OK, unwed mothers are Not
Before we can say that premarital pregnancy and birth are socially deviant acts we must think about the social atmospheres that brings about such circumstances. It is a fact that premarital sex is on the rise as perceptions about sexual activity change. Communication mediums that cross the globe expose people to changing ideas that include sexual awareness, education and exploration Results of the “Survey on College Students’ Perceptions” performed by Korean College Newspaper and College Life Portal Campus Life, on 1,707 students from over 200 4-year college around the nation, which showed that about 8 out of 10 students thought it was possible to have premarital sex. This serves to highlight the magnitude of cultural changes underway
Therefore our society’s concept of premarital chastity is inconsistent with what is happening with young people today. This change reflects the dynamic nature of the world we live in as compared to a few decades ago. Unfortunately, perception and disdain of unwed mothers remains mired in traditional thinking.
Based on “The Comparison of Korean Family Values: Polarization of the Generations?” released by the Korean Psychological Culture Institute, Korea had very traditional and conservative attitudes compared to the other countries. Attitudes regarding marriage and premarital cohabitation were very similar to that of the Philippines, which is a country with very different economic standard and position in the world. Attitudes regarding gender roles within the family were less traditional than attitudes regarding marriage, divorce and premarital cohabitation but nonetheless were more traditional compared to other countries.
The contradictory beliefs that premarital sex is ok, whereas pregnancies that result from premarital sex is not, leads unwedded mothers to be treated as sinners and outcasts who have broken society’s moral rules. Mothers, their children and Korea suffers as a result
New Times Need New Values
Traditional family values regarding unwedded mothers needs to be reexamined. Ostracizing unwed women and their children squanders their value and future contributions to our growing nation. New times need new values that are appropriate to the dynamic and global environment we engage in
It is obvious that by looking at societal trends on marriage and sex, traditional perceptions of unwedded mothers need to change. Attitudes toward premarital sex are slowly becoming more tolerant, but the problem remains: sex is deemed as a means of obtaining pleasure rather than acknowledging it as act that could result in pregnancy. With the inflow of western values, premarital sex will continue and under such circumstances the number of unwedded mothers will increase. We have a completely contradictory social attitude and within such a social convention, women who become pregnant prior to marriage must take full responsibility as well as isolation from family and society. The perception of unwedded mothers needs to change. Unless our attitudes change, the contributions that these young women and their children could make to Korean society will be unrealized
We must focus on our future and the talent of our people Social values and attitudes do not stay the same—we live in a dynamic and ever smaller world People and organizations that do not change at the appropriate time become stagnant. Korea’s status and success in the world is built on actively engaging in a changing environment. We are faced with challenges: decreasing birth rates, a growing aging population, and a new social class of unwedded mothers. How we creatively and humanly meet these challenges will define our future. We must take full advantage of the talent of our people and not become burdened by traditional values that isolate and degrade young unwedded women and their children
Right now, we need open discussion and social discourse on perceptions and policies on unwedded mothers. We must view their situation within the context of changing attitudes toward premarital sex and the accountability that men must share with women. We can no longer afford to penalize our young women and their children.. Our attitudes and support must demonstrate our consideration and gratitude for their decision to become orphans in order to become mothers and give birth to and raise their children If they must face societal isolation, the economic and social cost to Korea will be substantial as our country continues to grow and compete in a global and challenging environment.