Most Koreans Believe Society Treats Women Fairly

A majority of Koreans believe they live in a society that guarantees gender equality, according to a survey by Korea Research for the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

In the poll of 2,537 adults between October and November, 53.4 percent of respondents felt the genders are treated equally. Among men, the belief is held by 57.2 percent but among women by only 49.5 percent.

The traditional preference for baby boys has vanished completely, with couples these days preferring girls. Some 66.2 percent said they prefer a daughter if they can have only one child, while only 33.8 percent said they want a son.

And 32.1 percent of married couples said they are closer to the wife's family, while only 28.2 percent said they are closer to the husband's.

But worship of money also grew while tradition faded, with 86.8 percent of respondents saying money is the greatest source of strength in society.

Some 54.1 percent said people with skills and abilities are more important for a better society rather than those who behave virtuously. And 52 percent said they would rather enjoy their life now than save up for their twilight years.

Only 45.5 percent believe that social mobility exists.

Asked to give points out of 10 to factors that determine happiness, respondents gave 9.4 points to health, followed by their spouse with 8.9 points, children with 8.6, income and wealth also with 8.6, work and lifestyles with 8.4, and friends with 8.1.

When asked to rate the trustworthiness of Korean society, respondents gave it 5.6 points.

Also, 55.4 percent said the government should not rush to seek reunification with North Korea, up 3.8 percentage points compared to the last poll in 2008. And 25.6 percent said reunification is unnecessary, up 2.3 percentage points. Only 19 percent (down 6.1 percentage points) said reunification is urgent.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 30, 2013 08:22 KST