Over the last 20 years, North Korea has undergone a dramatic social and economic transformation. While the old facade of Juchestyle state socialism is maintained, actual economic life is determined by a multitude of private enterprises. The present article, based largely on interviews with North Koreans, traces the impact these social changes have had on family life. In many respects, the North Korean society is reminiscent of the post-socialist societies of the Eastern Europe and USSR. However, the disintegration of the state socialist regime has not led to the deterioration in the relative position of women in North Korea. In fact, their social standing has improved, as women have assumed important positions in the newly emerging North Korean private economy. Paradoxically, this prominence came about because of the earlier discriminatory policies and practices which marginalized women and excluded them from the 'proper' state-led economy. Interestingly, the new economy has emerged on the margins, and from the very beginning has mainly been dominated by women.
- Gender roles
- North Korea