Young South Korean women are turning to suicide in ever greater numbers. Covid-19 is just the start of their problems

Young South Korean women are turning to suicide in ever greater numbers. Covid-19 is just the start of their problems

When Jin-ah quit her job as a hotel cook she had hoped for relief from the bullying and sexual discrimination that was making her life a misery. But having nothing to do only made her inner demons louder, so she tried to hang herself with the cord of her hair dryer.

Jin-ah, 31, did not succeed. Deep within, a survival instinct stirred and she stopped herself before it was too late.

Since that day a few months ago the Jeju Island resident has been trying to understand her motivations for wanting to end her life and the depression that has plagued her for years. She sees a psychiatrist and has joined a college psychology course. On social media, she reaches out to other women who may be struggling with their self-image.

“Women are often judged on their looks on top of their skills, find it harder to be promoted over men and eventually encounter a glass ceiling that brings discouragement and a sense of emptiness,” Jin-ah says.