Female breadwinners in North Korean households – NKNews Podcast Ep. 209

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The Arduous March famine of the 1990s forced many North Korean women to engage in informal economic activity to support their families, even as the state required their husbands to continue reporting to official but unpaid jobs. The result was that many women came to be their families’ primary breadwinners in a traditionally patriarchal society. Hanna Song of the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB) joins the NK News Podcast to discuss how this change in gender roles has impacted relationships between husbands and wives in the DPRK. She also explains the latest developments at NKDB, the difficulty of arranging interviews with North Korean refugees and why the six-year veteran of NKDB doesn’t want it to be her life’s work. Song is the director of international cooperation at NKDB and previously worked at the organization as a researcher. The full Korean-language report discussed in this episode, as well as an English-language summary, are available at NKDB’s website. About the podcast: The North Korea News Podcast is a weekly podcast hosted by Jacco Zwetsloot (@JaccoZed) exclusively for NK News, covering all things DPRK — from news to extended interviews with leading experts and analysts in the field, along with insight from our very own journalists.

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