(UnitedVoice.com) – North Korea is an incredibly patriarchal society. Women in the poverty-stricken nation are treated like second-class citizens. In recent years, the birth rate has declined in the country. The nation’s Supreme Leader, Kim Jong-un, recently cried about it.
On December 4, the Korean Central Television station aired a video of Kim crying and dabbing his eyes with a handkerchief while sitting on a stage at the National Conference of Mothers. Thousands of women attended the fifth annual meeting of the organization on December 3.
During the event, Kim said that “[p]reventing a decline in birthrates” and being sure to take care of kids are “all of [their] housekeeping duties.” He also thanked the women in attendance for their role in strengthening the country. He said he thinks “about mothers when [he has] a hard time dealing with the party and state’s work.”
Experts believe North Korean women have approximately 1.8 children in their lifetimes. According to Newsweek, the United Nations reported a population rate of 2.1 is necessary for a country to sustain itself.
The country is already in horrible condition, economically. Years of economic sanctions from the US and other nations have made the country one of the world’s most isolated. In the 1990s, a famine decimated the country. There have been reports of more people starving to death in recent years.
In August, United Nations High Commission for Human Rights Volker Türk said the isolation has created a situation where many people are “facing extreme hunger,” and there are also “acute shortages of medication.” Elizabeth Salmón, an investigator for the UN, echoed Türk’s assessment, saying people are starving and others are dying of “malnutrition, diseases and lack of access to health care.”
The dire conditions in the nation don’t make it an ideal place to have children. A woman might give birth one day and see her child starve to death a few weeks later. While Kim is crying about the declining birth rate, it doesn’t appear he’s making any changes to his policies.
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