Cho Yoon-soo, a 41-year-old deputy senior manager at a large company, is the quintessential “Gold Miss.” That means, roughly, a single woman in her 30s or 40s with an annual salary of more than 40 million won ($42,427).
Cho earns 55 million won per year and has her own apartment. “I don’t mind staying late at work because I don’t have to worry about a husband or children at home,” Cho said. “That’s why I can focus on myself and do my best at work.”
She is not hesitant to spend money on herself, either. Her wallet is full of membership cards ― for a massage parlor, a gym, a Chinese language institute and movie theaters.
“I have it all, except a family,” Cho said, smiling. “I will get married when I meet a nice person. But I am not dying to get married.”
The Korea Employment Information Service said yesterday the number of Gold Misses has increased more than tenfold in five years, from 2,152 in 2001 to 27,223 in 2006r. The service defined a “Gold Miss” as an unmarried woman between 30 and 45, with a college degree and an annual salary of more than 40 million won. The term is a play on another Korean term, “Old Miss.”
The “Gold Miss” group has a wide range of careers. In 2001, they were divided into seven occupational categories, including chef, business manager, doctor or fashion designer. In 2006, the women were categorized into 36 occupations, including teacher at a private institute and a professional in the movie, theater or broadcasting industries.
“There are more employment opportunities for women because companies have become more likely to hire employees based on their capability, regardless of their gender,” said Park Sang-hyeon, a researcher at the service. “As women’s economic power grows, they are getting married later and later.”
According to the National Statistical Office, the average marrying age of South Korean women climbed from 24.8 in 1990 to 27.7 in 2005.
By Kim Ki-chan JoongAng Ilbo [firstname.lastname@example.org]