SEOUL, Apr. 19 (Korea Bizwire) — Two out of three South Korean men in their twenties consider male-only mandatory military service to be a form of gender discrimination.
The Korean Women’s Development Institute (KWDI) conducted a survey last year on 3,000 men between 19 and 59 years of age, with 72.2 percent of the respondents in their 20s saying it was gender discrimination to send only men to the military.
Another 62.9 of those in their 30s, 55 percent of those in their 40s, and 50.1 percent of those in their 50s said likewise.
At 82.6 percent, the vast majority of men in their 20s also said it was best to evade military service if possible, while 75.3 percent of those in their 30s, 70.6 percent of those in their 40s, and 51.8 percent of those in their 50s said likewise.
More than two thirds of the respondents in their 20s agreed ‘military service is a waste of time,’ while 73.5 percent also said ‘there is more to lose than gain by serving in the military.’
If ‘traditional men’ are defined as those with high tendencies for ‘competition and success,’ and ‘bureaucracy and obedience,’ South Korean men in their 40s and 50s were the closest to being ‘traditional men,’ while those in their 20s were closer to being ‘non-traditional men.’
Men in their 20s showed qualities of both traditional and non-traditional men.
Among ‘non-traditional men,’ 68.4 percent regarded male-only mandatory military service as gender discrimination, while 65.5 percent said women should also serve in the military.
In contrast, 56 percent of ‘traditional men’ saw military service as discriminatory, 52.4 percent of whom also said women should take on military responsibilities.
“The survey reveals the clash between the changing perception of manhood against the military program that insists on the qualities of being a traditional man,” said Ma Kyung-hee, head of policy research at the KWDI.
“We need to delve deeper into the question of what constitutes the military program.”
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)