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Title: Three essays on the impact of education on the women's employment and empowerment in South Korea
Author: So, Ga-Young
ISNI:       0000 0004 7226 905X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2018
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Education is a significant element for inclusive growth and sustainable development. In scholarship, understanding education has been fragmented due to conflicts between disciplines and methodologies. This thesis, consisting of three empirical essays, explores the impact of education for women’s employment and empowerment. As a context, this thesis has chosen South Korea as a newly industrialized but a non-Western originating economy during the mid-late twentieth century. All three essays adopt different theoretical frameworks and methodologies. The first essay adopts Capability Approach in order to understand the gendered translation of education into the labour market outcomes. In this essay, confidence is a societal conversion factor that individuals transform their resources into capabilities of labour market participation. Empirically, this essay shows that female public administration students in South Korea are less confident about entering labour market than their male counterparts, resulting in fewer capabilities of labour market participation. The second essay, comparing Korea with Singapore, which is another newly industrialized economy from the same period creates a historical and institutional basis to answer Korea’s much wider gender pay gap than the one of Singapore. This essay tests the hypothesis, previously built in the context of advanced economies, which states the negative association between gender pay gap and centrality of wage negotiation system in this comparative setting. The analysis of government documents and various sources demonstrates that Singapore with a narrow gender pay gap has a very centralized wage negotiation institution whereas Korea with a big gender pay gap has a fragmented negotiation. The third essay on Saemaul Women’s Club, a government-initiated nongovernmental organization, analyses the archival materials of memoirs of female Saemaul leaders in the rural areas for a bottom-up approach to women’s empowerment. Unlike the conventional scholarship dominated by the Western perspectives or a few international organizations, this case study shows the important role of the state in initiating a space for women to empower themselves on themselves. Ultimately, this emphasizes the contextual dependency of empowerment. The purpose of these three essays is to raise context as a way to understand the impact of education, stressing the diversity and dependency of contexts.
Supervisor: Fennell, Shailaja Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: The Analysis of Education ; Human Development ; Economics of Gender ; South Korea