Discourse on motherhood and childrearing: the role of women in North Korea
The implementation of socialism in North Korea required the large-scale involvement of women in economic relations. In order to align the rights of women and men in social life, the government pursued a policy of gender equality, conducting extensive advocacy among the female population aimed at a transformation of the understanding of women’s social roles and the nature of femininity. In the original context of women being encouraged to be workers and passionate contributors to the construction of the socialist state, the traditional stance on women as caring mothers and wives was supplemented with internationalist rhetoric on womanhood. However, with the transition to the Juche-oriented socialism, the discourse on women was modified, increasing the emphasis on motherhood and childrearing and reducing internationalism. Based on an analysis of the women’s magazine The Korean Woman, the present study analyses discourses on motherhood and childrearing in 21st century North Korea. The preliminary results of the research show that, while motherhood remains an essential component of the discourse on women, it is formulated in terms of building a powerful socialist state.