Saturday 11 September 2010

Civil Service Exam to be Scrapped for Sake of Restoring Proper Gender Proportions

original article

For literally centuries, Korea's best and brightest young men gathered in the capital for the civil service exam: one of the hardest, and most prestigious exams in the country.  According to education scholars, those who succeeded were awarded with high positions of government service, leading to intense competition to be among those brilliant young men who entered the King's courts on scholarly talent alone.

Yet recently, the austere position of government service has been sullied, more and more so in recent years, and many top policy makers are upset.  "It used to be that passing this exam meant something," complains Ryu Gwang-jo, "I remember being alerted that I'd passed back in 1972, and looking forward to working with Korea's most capable male minds over a long career of soju rounds, hands on my male colleagues' thighs in jimjilbangs, and ass-gropings of waitresses at the hoeshik.  No prospect could have made me more excited!"

Unfortunately for Ryu and others like him, in recent years, female applicants have been equaling, and even surpassing men's performance on the civil service exam.  "It seems like every entry level worker in our office these days is a female -- I don't even know what to do with them!  I can only drink so much coffee in a day, and eat so many sammiches - after I'm full, I don't know how to give all these females orders."  Ryu holds up his left hand.  It shakes noticeably.  "That's from all the caffeine!"

Ryu was not the only official to notice the disturbing trend: the board responsible for civil service human resources sought a way to restore the proper gender ratio for a prestigious job like civil service.  "We've decided to move to a system of open recruiting - interviews and applications and the like - similar to the way chaebols like Samsung and LG keep their workforces overwhelmingly male" recruiting has an added bonus.  "By hiring pretty but untalented women, and finding excuses to pass over talented, bright, or highly educated and ambitious women like the ones who have been entering the civil service, we will more easily justify the fact none of the females in our system are being promoted above middle-management.  I'm looking forward to my own pretty, leggy, but useless secretary.  At least she won't know where to make a formal complaint if I proposition her, like my last secretary."

Others point out other benefits of the new hiring policy: "We'll be able to hire more male law graduates, and all those talented females wasting years studying for the civil service exam will now be encouraged to get secretarial work, wait tables, scoop ice cream, or make babies.  I anticipate a future where many more males will feel proud of their contributions to society," explains Park Jo-moon, one of the architects of the new hiring policy.

Mr. Park sits back, pleased with himself.  "This also comes in good time, because if any more women passed the exam, we'd have to redesign our government office buildings, which only have men's bathrooms on most floors."

And what will the smart, well-educated, ambitious women who have been preparing for the exam do?  "Let them take the bar exam," suggests Park, "while it lasts."  Sang Gyeong-mo, president of the Korean Bar Association, is already planning for such an event.  "We're already looking at adding new requirements to the Bar, in order to be sure Korean lawyers' ranks remain overwhelmingly male.  You may know that females are gaining fast on men in passing the bar as well: whether passing an interview or a law school course will be prerequisite to taking the bar exam - which would put the requirement of filtering out uppity females on universities' law school admissions officers - or whether the final portion of the bar exam will be writing a word with urine in the snow, believe me, we'll find a way."

No women were interviewed for their opinions on this new change.  Why would they be?  Dokdo Is Ours doesn't want to waste his time listening to a bunch of talk about pink things and babies.

1 comment:

Thomas Peng said...

Dear friend:

I am teaching at the National Taiwan University. I found your article on Korean civil service exams quite interesting. Can you briefly tell me what the types of civil service exams are right now? What are the requirements for the exams? What are the content of the exams? Are they divide into stages? Sorry that I can not read Korean. Thanks. Thomas Peng