Sunday, March 06, 2005

South Korea registers the end of male superiority

By Anna Fifield, The Financial Times, March 5, 2005

In deeply Confucian Korea, the man has been the undisputed headof the family for 600 years. But not for much longer, at least not legally.

Korea is undergoing a social revolution through the looming abolition of hoju-je, the family register system that places the man (hoju) at the head of the family and defines everyone else in relation to him. The National Assembly this week approved the scrapping of the anachronistic system, which dates back to the Chosun dynasty that began in 1392 and which women's rights groups say has perpetuated the "son- first" mentality of Korean society ever since."This system fundamentally dismantled the concept of equality - it put women under the guardianship of men," says Shin Hei-soo, Korean representative on the United Nations Committee for Ending Discrimination against Women and one of the key proponents of abolishing the system, which she called the "final fortress of the patriarchy".-------------------------

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