There was a time when female married immigrants in South Korea were treated with contempt. We were stereotyped as poor women with no education from a third world country who had come to marry aging bachelor farmers in the countryside. There was also a time when economic opportunities for our kind were limited. Most women that I met at the Women’s Center for Married Immigrants work in restaurants or factories for garments or assemblies for computer products, thule bike racks and the like. About half a decade ago, even F-2 visa holders were not legally allowed to be hired as English instructors at private institutes. It was only two or three years ago when the local governments started training female married immigrants, specifically Filipinas, for English teaching positions.
The KBS program “Love in Asia” has helped the society and the government as well take notice of the fact that we aren’t at all useless. In recent years, Anabelle Castro made headlines when she became the first Filipina police officer in South Korea. In 2008, another Filipina named Judith Alegre Hernandez became a candidate for the National Assembly. Too bad that she didn’t make it. Last year, Jaz Lee almost made it to the list of the GNP candidates for the city council of Seoul. The fact is, the government is slowly helping the female marriage immigrants integrate in the society.
Here’s the article on Korea Times:
One foreign woman married to a Korean man will be hired by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family this week, making her the first female marriage immigrant to work for the central government, an official said Tuesday, amid the country’s efforts to embrace the growing number of such citizens.
In line with that trend, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family has decided to hire one marriage immigrant this week for a job that involves translating, gathering opinions from the foreign community, giving talks on multicultural society and counseling other marriage immigrants, the ministry official said.
“We decided to hire a marriage immigrant to motivate them toward work and independence, and to provide a practical support policy that reflects the position of multicultural families,” the official said, adding that he hopes other government ministries will do the same.
The ministry has so far picked five candidates from a pool of applicants that fulfilled certain requirements for education, Korean-language ability and duration of stay. The five women include one Chinese, one Vietnamese and one Filipino, the official said.
Hoping to read more good news in the future.