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At Confirmation Hearing, Woman Chastised for Being Childless

Critics are blasting remarks of S. Korea's Jeong Kab-yoon to female economics professor
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2019 12:52 PM CDT
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Stock photo.   (Getty Images/LittleBee80)

(Newser) – A renowned economics professor in South Korea is the first female nominated to head up the country's fair-trade commission, but even though she seems to have the professional credentials, one politician says she's got one big gap that makes her nomination iffy: She's single and childless. "You have a great resume, but please fulfill your duties to the nation," Jeong Kab-yoon, a member of the far-right Liberty Korea Party, told Seoul National University instructor Joh Sung-wook at her confirmation hearing this week, per the Guardian. "The biggest problem in South Korea is that women are not giving birth."

Jeong also tried to verify her marital status at one point, asking, "You're not married yet, are you?" per the Yonhap News Agency, via Reuters. "You would have been a perfect nominee, if you ... had such qualification[s]." South Korea is known for its low birthrate, with the national fertility rate averaging out to 0.98, or less than one baby per woman; the Guardian notes 2.1 is the target number needed to ensure a stable population. Those figures aren't swaying critics of Jeong's remarks. "If the nominee were a man, would Rep. Jeong ask the nominee such questions?" asked fellow pol Rep. Kim Byung-wook. The Korea Times reports that Jeong later apologized to Joh, who accepted his apology. (Read more South Korea stories.)

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