More and more North Korean women are marrying younger men as their superior earning power makes them increasingly eligible. Park Young-ja of Ewha Womans University's Institute of Unification Studies told a seminar Thursday more women are becoming breadwinners as the North's economic hardship deepens.
"Young women are avoiding marriage or opt for informal cohabitation. And an increasing number of women are choosing younger men so that they can have more control in the relationship."
One female North Korean defector in her 30s said, "Even if the authorities tell people not to, men are living with women who are five or six years older, because these women have experience making ends meet."
The number of divorces initiated by women is on the rise as well. The regime is threatening to expel divorcees, but to no avail. "North Koreans don't take warnings from the regime seriously because they believe that there is no need to report marriage or divorce to the government," Park said.
"Recently an increasing number of people don't bother to register their partnership and just go their separate ways after a few months or years if they want."