South Korea just shut down a government website that showed where its most fertile female citizens—those between the ages of 15 and 49—live. It was up for only few hours.
The move comes after a public outcry led by feminist campaigners, who argued that the government attributed the country’s low birth rate problem to women alone. There were no photos of men on the website.
The website, launched by the Ministry of the Interior, mapped the number of childbearing women by city district and region, The Guardian reported.
Regions with a higher number of females aged 15 to 49 were indicated in dark pink; those with less were in light pink.
In addition, regions were ranked according to the number of women in the said childbearing age group.
Users could have also found the number of such females in their locale for the last decade.
The website reportedly undergoes corrections while offline. Lee Min-kyung, a feminism writer, expressed her opinion:
“I felt so angered that it blatantly showed how the government saw women’s bodies as the country’s reproductive tools, not that belonging to the woman. I felt like nothing has changed and the hatred of women that I have experienced appeared again.”
South Korea registered the lowest birth rate among OECD member countries since 2014, The Hankyoreh said. Births between January and June 2016, at 215,000, were down by 12,900 from the same period in the previous year. Seoul set its fertility rate target at 1.5 by 2020.
Apparently, the website was marketed as a tool “to encourage local governments to learn and compare other governments’ benefits and to promote free competition,” the ministry said at its launch.