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Researchers from Seoul, South Korea, were in Vermont this week, learning about issues facing women and mothers in the United States. They discussed empowering women with former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin Thursday morning at the Lund Family Center in Burlington.
The organizer of the visit says 70% of unmarried mothers in South Korea give up their babies for adoption or to institutions, because of a social stigma there of being a single mom. That figure is only a few percentage points in this country.
Advocates say that comparative success here is thanks to more financial and educational support from government and nonprofit groups. Dr. Richard Boas of the Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network explains, "That is a big stumbling block in Korea, and is probably the number one cause of mothers not being able to keep and raise their children."
Korean delegation leader Sang Soon Han adds, "We have to develop many resources around unwed mothers. Also, we have to develop resources from the government, as Vermont has in this state. I admire your state."
The group's visit to the United States also featured visits to Vermont family centers, the Statehouse in Montpelier, and the United Nations in New York City.
Jack Thurston - WCAX News