South Korean politician under fire for blaming women for rising male suicide rate
3 mins read

South Korean politician under fire for blaming women for rising male suicide rate

A South Korean politician has come under fire for making unfounded comments linking the rise in male suicides to a “female-dominated society.”

Seoul City Councilor Kim Ki-duck released a report stating that women’s increasing participation in social life and their dominant role in society are linked to an increase in male suicide rates.

Mr Kim’s report, posted on the Seoul Metropolitan Council website, said women’s participation in public life had caused a shortage of male labour and also made it harder for them to find marriage partners.

“Unlike in the past, when Korea was dominated by patriarchy and a male-dominated ideology, from 2023 onwards, this society is starting to change into a female-dominated society, where there are about 5 percent more women than men,” he argued in the article.

“To overcome the expansion of the phenomenon of female domination, in the short term, it is necessary to raise awareness of gender equality so that men and women can enjoy equal rights and opportunities, and also to solve the problem of the labor shortage (which seems to be in the sense of a lack of jobs) by increasing men’s participation in social life.”

The report cited data on suicide attempts at Han River bridges over the past six years. Suicide attempts rose from 430 in 2018 to 1,035 in 2023. The data showed that the percentage of men attempting suicide rose from 67% to 77%.

The councilor’s statements were met with criticism. Many considered them unfounded and dangerous to women.

Professor Jang Sook-rang of the Red Cross Nursing College at Chung-Ang University said: Hankyoreh news site, which found that the male suicide rate has always remained high, regardless of women’s level of participation in society.

Lee Min-ah, a professor of sociology at Chung-Ang University, told the website that the solution is not to “overcome a female-dominated society” but to break away from patriarchal gender roles.

“If men feel uneasy about the presence of more women in society, we need to move towards a society that moves away from traditional gender roles in which men should be the breadwinners and women the sole caregivers of children.”

Mr. Kim said Hankyoreh“I wrote this based on my personal views regarding the causes of the male suicide rate.”

South Korea’s suicide rate is the highest among the 38 wealthy members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and twice the OECD average. In 2022, it recorded 25.2 deaths per 100,000 people.

If you are feeling anxious or struggling to cope, you can talk to Samaritans in confidence by calling 116 123 (UK and Ireland), emailing [email protected] or visiting their website Samaritans website for details of the nearest location. If you live in the US and you or someone you know needs immediate mental health help, call or text 988 or visit 988lifeline.org to access the online chat with 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. This is a free, confidential crisis helpline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a hotline in your area.