IMF chief calls for increased female workforce in S. Korea
SEJONG, Oct. 18 (Yonhap) -- The new head of the International Monetary Fund has called on South Korea to cope with an aging population and boost labor participation rates for women, South Korea's finance ministry said Friday.
IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva made the remarks in a meeting with South Korean Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki at the IMF headquarters on Thursday (local time), according to the ministry.
Hong is in Washington for the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors' meeting, as well as meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
In 2018, South Korea's female participation rate in the workforce stood at 59.4 percent, compared with 79.1 percent for males.
South Korea has been pushing to bring stay-at-home moms back into the workforce for years as a way to prop up the economy.
Adding to the economy's woes, South Korea is facing a rapidly aging population due to its chronically low birthrate.
South Korea's total fertility rate -- the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime -- hit a record low of 0.98 in 2018, much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 that would keep South Korea's population stable at 51 million.
Some young South Koreans are opting to distance themselves from life's three major milestones -- dating, marriage and having children -- because they cannot find decent jobs amid a prolonged economic slowdown.
Last month, South Korea unveiled a set of measures to tackle demographic challenges in areas ranging from the military to schools over a looming demographic transition.
Statistics Korea forecast that the country's population is likely to reach 39 million in 2067, sharply down from 51.7 million in 2019. It said people aged 65 years or older could account for 46.5 percent of the country's population, which would mark a sharp rise from the 14.9 percent over the cited period.
A country is defined as a super-aged society when more than 21 percent of its people are 65 or older.
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