S. Korean MP brings her toddler on stage for press conference about ‘no kids zones’

S. Korean MP brings her toddler on stage for press conference about ‘no kids zones’
용혜인
Ines Shin
May 5, 2023
Yong Hye-in, a member of South Korea’s Basic Income Party, held a press conference on the eve of Children’s Day with her 2-year-old son in her arms to denounce “no kids” policies in the country.
During her speech at the National Assembly in Seoul, Yong commented on the need for a society where children and parents do not feel alienated in public facilities. 
“Everyday life with children is not easy,” she confessed. “Even so, our society must be reborn into one where children are included.”
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Around a decade ago in South Korea, banners and signs bearing the message “No Kids” began to appear in various public places, such as restaurants, cafes and libraries. 
This was reportedly in response to complaints posted in online forums regarding noisy and disruptive children. 
According to The National Library of Korea’s official website, visitors under the age of 16 are not allowed to enter the premises unless they have obtained permission through an application. This rule was reportedly implemented to protect materials from damage or theft. 
In response to such measures, Yong explained, “All of us were children at one point, and in the first moments of our lives, we were slow and clumsy. Let’s create a society where the slow, clumsy, and immature are accepted.”
Prior to having a child, Yong explained she was not able to recognize the prevalence of the “no kids” zones. However, once she became a mother, she realized that all of the cafes and restaurants she wanted to go to were off-limits to her and her son, she said. 
Yong also mentioned Japan’s “fast-track” policy, which gives priority to children and parents for entry into public museums, galleries and parks. 
Unlike Korea, Japan has implemented measures to make it easier for families with children to access places of learning. 
“We need to make ‘No Kids Korea’ into ‘First Kids Korea’,” she asserted.
During the press conference, Yong’s son often moved around and pulled the camera and microphone, causing some delays in the event. 
“Although I have been to numerous press conferences, today I was more nervous than ever,” Yong shared on Facebook after the event. “Because being accompanied by a child always requires a lot of courage.”
She also added, “I hope that today’s somewhat uncomfortable and noisy press conference can help us recognize that we can live a life where children can be included.”
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