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Politicians take heat for their reasoning about male suicide

Men are killing themselves in increasing numbers in South Korea, which has one of the highest suicide rates among the world’s richest nations. A local politician thinks he has partially figured out the nail – and he blames women. In a new report cited by BBC, Seoul City Councilor Kim Ki-duck pointed to how women have flocked to the workforce in recent years, making it more challenging for men to find jobs, as well as find women who want to tie the knot. “Unlike the past when patriarchy and male-dominated ideology prevailed in Korea … it has begun to change into a female-dominated society,” Kim, of the country’s center-liberal Democratic Party, argued in writing, per de Independent.

Kim’s report noted that suicide attempts along the city’s Han River jumped from 430 in 2018 to more than 1,000 in 2023. Of those attempts, the proportion of men attempting to kill themselves rose from 67% to 77%. He concluded his assessment by saying that the country must reduce this “phenomenon of female dominance” by talking about gender equality, so that “men and women can enjoy equal opportunities”, according to the BBC. However, that department notes that women in South Korea still disproportionately work part-time or casual jobs instead of full-time, and they are still paid, on average, nearly 30% less than men.

Not only that, but men take their own lives more than women all over the world, not just in South Korea, Yonsei University mental health expert In Han Song told the BBC. “It is dangerous and unwise to make such claims without sufficient evidence,” he says of Kim’s report. Other Koreans took to social media to call the assessment “misogynistic” and “unsubstantiated”. In response to the backlash, Kim says the report was “not meant to be critical of the female-dominated society” and that he was only offering his personal thoughts on the implications. (If you are having suicidal thoughts, call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.)

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