A job seeker looks at a board showing job information at an office of the Employment Information Service in Seoul on May 11, 2011
Truth Leem—Reuters
By Rishi Iyengar
November 18, 2014

Women in South Korea were advised by a government website to tell potential employers they do not mind sex jokes in the workplace, had no plans to get married and were willing to take on menial tasks like making coffee.

The statements were among job-interview guidelines posted on a site run by the country’s Labor Ministry, the Korea Herald reports

The post, which incurred the anger of several local advocacy groups and was taken down on Friday, compiled “ideal answers” for potential interview questions.

When a woman was asked about her opinion on sexual harassment, her response should be: “I wouldn’t mind casual jokes about sex and it is sometimes necessary to deal with [sexual harassment] by making a joke in return,” the guidelines stated.

Women were told to say, “I have no interest in getting married for awhile,” even if they did plan to get married, because the ministry said women often quit their jobs after marriage.

And of course no woman should be reluctant to make trips to the pantry. “I will do my very best even if it is just making a single cup of coffee,” is what the ministry told female job seekers to say.

A group of NGOs, including the Korean National Council of Women, denounced the post. “The government is in fact encouraging employers to discriminate against women,” they said in a joint statement.

[Korea Herald]

Write to Rishi Iyengar at rishi.iyengar@timeasia.com.

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