Are welfare settlements after the economic crisis in Korea inclusive of women? Reforms of pension policy

Social rights in Korean welfare state have been exclusively associated with a person's capacity to perform paid work. Improvements in the labour market participation thus would allow women more access to benefits. The inclusion also, more importantly, depends on the rules and conditions under which social welfare benefits pay out. Since the economic crisis 97/98 in Korea, active welfare paradigm had run throughout Kim Dae Jung (1998-2002) and Rho Moo Hyun government (2003-2007). Consequently, it has changed the institutional arrangements of welfare provisions noticeably. This paper examines the extent to which the welfare settlements after the crisis in Korea are inclusive of women taking the case of pension reforms. As a background, it discusses socio-demographic changes with special attention to the impact of economic globalization on labour market and the demand for women's labour. In analyzing the social insurance policy reforms, we focus on the coverage, the entitlements and the level of benefits. This paper tentatively concludes that the emerged welfare arrangements will open more doors to women, but for women, the new welfare settlements are "exclusive".