Women in the Markets of North Korea

It is a challenge to report on North Korea without talking sometimes about the hardships in the country. On this blog, we generally try to focus on fostering greater understanding of this place so different from our own, and to do that we often play up the “good news” or choose lighter fare to cover, since so many sources focus instead on the negative. We try to provide a picture of hope.

But, to deserve the respect of our readers, sometimes we have to cover difficult issues. We’ll touch on some such issues in this post.

A new report by the Peterson Institute for International Economics examines the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in North Korea. It used a detailed survey of refugees living in South Korea to build a picture of life inside North Korea over the past ten or twenty years.

A woman sells snacks at a roadside stand on April 21, 2012. Photo credit David Guttenfelder / AP Photo.

One of the most prominent features of gender inequity in North Korea is the role of women in private markets. Women tended disproportionately to be shed from government or party jobs, which along with the military are deeply biased toward men; women also tend generally to be less likely to hold a job in general. Continue reading

In the News – N. Korea faxes propaganda messages to S. Korean groups

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In the News – N. Korea faxes propaganda messages to S. Korean groups

SEOUL, May 8 (Yonhap) — North Korea has sent faxed messages to 13 South Korean civic and religious organizations in recent weeks to criticize South Korea’s alleged insult to the North’s dignity, an official said Tuesday.

The messages came in response to South Korea’s accusation that the North wasted millions of dollars on celebrating the centennial of the April 15 birth of the country’s late founder Kim Il-sung, the grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.

South Korea has said the North should have used the money to buy much-needed food for its 24 million people.

Some South Koreans have recently held anti-Pyongyang events in Seoul.

One of the messages claimed that Seoul’s insult to the North is a provocation by conservative forces to win the presidential election in December, according to the official who is familiar with the issue.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak’s single five-year term ends early next year and by law, he cannot seek re-election. North Korea has repeatedly condemned Lee as a traitor and called for his ouster in an apparent protest of his hard-line policy toward Pyongyang.

The latest faxed messages came as Pyongyang has threatened to launch special military actions to reduce Seoul to ashes in minutes over Seoul’s defamation of the North’s leader.

 

Original article can be found here