SEOUL, Oct. 27 (Korea Bizwire) – A kindergarten director in Seoul is facing criticism after having told multiple female teachers not to get pregnant at the same time to avoid interfering with class schedules.
The controversial comment was brought up by the Seoul government’s human rights committee at a meeting held on Friday, during which the committee slammed the kindergarten director in question over what was branded a ‘breach of human rights’, namely reproductive rights, against female workers.
It has been found that two teachers from the same kindergarten in Seoul were assigned to the same class back in February, while both had plans to have a baby.
The director of the kindergarten reportedly said, “Whomever gets married first should have a baby first and the other can bear a child after,” while telling them not to get pregnant at the same time.
When the director found out in June that both teachers were pregnant, another female teacher was told not to get pregnant as the school couldn’t afford to hire three substitute teachers.
Following the incident, Seoul’s civil rights committee has urged Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon to look into the situation at kindergartens around the city and come up with measures to protect mothers’ reproductive rights.
The committee said verbal orders asking kindergarten teachers to adjust pregnancy plans are in clear violation of basic rights protected by the constitution. The committee argues the constitution upholds personal rights as well as the pursuit of happiness, which includes the freedom to make a decision on when to get pregnant and have a baby.
As the issue of pregnancy only concerns women physically, the committee accused the kindergarten director of gender discrimination, which is also a breach of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
“The decision (by the committee) is the first incidence to acknowledge that creating an order of pregnancy at a workplace is a breach of human rights.
We hope the Seoul Metropolitan Government plays a leading role in creating an environment where the work environment of female workers is improved and a healthy balance between work and family is possible,” said Lee Yun-sang, the senior official responsible for the protection of human rights in Seoul.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)