As a child, her brother is always prioritised over her and her sister. She faces discrimination by employers, both in hiring and in assignments, as well as harassment in public and at work. She is the one who ends up giving up her job to look after children, and is then stigmatised as a stay-at-home mother. And so forth. Much of this is more reporting than story, and some of it even comes with footnotes. ("According to reports, more than half of the women who quit their jobs are unable to find new work for more than five years. Even if they do manage to find new work, it is quite common for them to end up with jobs that are more menial than their previous employment.")
There's nothing unexpected in any of this, but for the foreign reader it is interesting to see how familiar themes play out in a Korean setting. And the story is engaging and accessible — my eight year old enjoyed it. For a more sophisticated probing of the lives of women in Korea, however, I'd recommend the short story anthology The Future of Silence: Fiction by Korean Women.
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