Why South Korean Women Are Swearing Off Men

The 4B movement is a feminist action taking hold of South Korea, which now has the lowest birth rate in the world.

The movement follows the four B’s: no marriage, no sex with men, no child-rearing and no dating.

Senior Lecturer Su-kyoung Hwang from the University of Sydney said one-person families are becoming the dominant family structure in South Korea.

Su-kyoung Hwang told The Briefing why Korean women are swearing off men:

“Women are trying to be in charge of their lives […] and try to kind of challenge existing patriarchy or emerging patriarchy,” Su-kyoung said.

Korea has the largest gender pay gap in the rich world, with women earning 31 per cent less than men.

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In 2022, South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol blamed feminism for Korea’s low birth rate and promised to abolish the country’s Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

Korea’s fertility rate has plummeted to 0.78 and the Korean government has unveiled an online tool called the “National Birth Map.” 

This digital resource displayed the number of women of childbearing age in each region, effectively highlighting the societal expectations placed on women.

“It may take years or decades for the 4B movement to fade out because this is at one point radical but also silent. An anonymous movement.”

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