Myunghwa Lee


This thesis compares the family leave policies (maternity, paternity and parental leave) of South Korea, U.S., France, and Germany by exploring the cultural context and purposes in adopting family leave laws. Unlike Western nations, family leave legislation has been ineffective in South Korea since family leave laws were adopted as a means to achieve the ranks of a developed nation, with little consideration as to internal cultural values. Traditional influences of Confucianism, which support gender inequality have hindered implementation of family leave laws, which are based on democratic principles. One method to embrace family leave in Korea is through recognition of a collective goal of increasing women’s workforce participation through family leave, since collectivism has historically been accepted and valued by the Korean people. By shifting responsibility for children from parents to government, children can be regarded as public goods, and the establishment of public childcare centers can support the implementation of family leave policies to assist working families in South Korea.