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Changing definition of 'family': Analysis Updated: 2021-05-07 17:34:08 KST

Over the past 50 years, there have been major changes across the developed world in the
fundamental processes that shape families - the formation, dissolution and reconstitution of adult
unions, and the patterns of childbearing that occur within and outside these unions.
Patterns of union formation have also been changing and it's now even being embraced by South Korea, a nation where the values and traditional family system of Confucianism date back millennia.

"By expanding the range and definition of 'family' under the Framework Act on Healthy Homes, we hope to induce positive changes."

Increasingly, both men and women want to first establish themselves in the labor market before founding a family. Hence, age at first marriage has been rising and some women are choosing to forgo marriage entirely.

Changing definition of family it's the topic of our News In-Depth tonight.
Let's talk about it with Professor JUNG Jae-hoon, professor of social welfare at Seoul Women's University.
Thank you for joining us.



Korea has recently started engaging in a social discourse on what a ‘normal’ family household looks like, sparked in particular by a tv personality Sayuri who became a mother using artificial insemination. Why is this specific debate so significant and controversial?

According to current Korean bioethics law, women need spousal consent to undergo in vitro fertilization using donated sperm, which makes it impossible for unmarried women to have a child with donated sperm… how are things different in other countries, for example in Europe and America? Are there specifically designed laws and policies for unmarried women’s right to reproductive choice?

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family announced that it would begin discussions on expanding the legal concept of family in response to the debate, such as unmarried partnerships. Why is it important to expand policy support for those who does not belong to the ‘typical family’ comprised of married parents and children?

As much as policies and laws are important, what further actions do we need to develop the social consensus?

The number of single-person households in South Korea surpassed 9 million in 2020, its main reasons being in falling marriage rates, increasing divorce rates, and seniors living alone. What kind of changes in the form of families should the Korean society be prepared to embrace?

Professor JUNG Jae-hoon at Seoul Women's University for us tonight. Thank you for your insight.
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