More and more South Korean fathers are taking advantage of paternity leave to help raise their children. Julie noce reports.
Chung Sang-hoon is doing something not many men do in South Korea... he's taking care of his children. The 34-year-old is amongst a growing rank of fathers, known as 'superdads' because they are so rare, who are taking paternity leave to care for their children. Chung says he's trying to break tradition. I want to be different from my father's generation, he says. Deeply ingrained social stereotypes still see South Korean women taking on the majority of housework and childcare, despite also having full time jobs. Government incentives are trying to change that. For example, mothers and fathers each are allowed up to one year of paternity leave, which can be used any time until the child is nine years old. And there's this-a popular reality TV shows that feature male celebrities taking care of their children. Chung's wife Jeong-mi, who has returned to her teaching job after taking one year of leave, says her husband's help relieves some of her 'mommy-guilt'. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) SOUTH KOREAN SCHOOL TEACHER AND WIFE OF CHUNG SANG-HOON ON PATERNITY LEAVE, JEON JEONG-MI, SAYING: "I can work without feeling pressure. I don't have to worry about home; I do not have to go home early. And I do not need to feel sorry for my kids when I go to work in the morning." Last year only 3400 dads took advantage of the paternity leave.