Asian Fisheries Society

Why do Korean Women Dive? A Discussion from the Viewpoint of Gender


This paper explores the phenomenon of the women divers of Korea, especially those of Jeju Island, long famous for this activity. I describe the activities of the women divers, and explore the contradictions between the high earnings of the divers and their low social status. Korean history demonstrates that fishers have always had a very low status, and for the women divers this was compounded by the introduction of Confucianism, with its emphasis on the strict separation of gender roles and the subjugation of women to their domestic roles. Today, while women divers continue to benefit economically, their numbers are decreasing and young women are not drawn to diving. The paper presents the details of how women divers operate, their levels of skill and endurance and the continuing challenges they face, both from the decline of the stock and from discrimination and social stigma.

Publication Date : 2012-08-15

Volume : 25

Issue : Special Gender in Aquaculture and Fisheries: Moving the Agenda Forward

Page : 47-58

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Date 2012/08/15
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