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South Korean Technology Makes Life Easier for Pregnant Women

  • 14
  • 07
  • 2016

If you have ever taken public transport, you would likely be aware of the “special seating” allocated for the disabled, pregnant, or elderly. You’re also probably aware of the awkwardness associated with giving away your seat. All sorts of scenarios run through your mind. “Am I going to offend the elderly person by offering my seat? Is this woman pregnant or just a little large?”

South Korea has been working hard to find a solution, something which would hopefully reduce awkwardness and confusion for all people involved, as well as make public transport more appealing to pregnant women.

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The city of Busan, Korea’s second largest city, has begun testing wireless technology, a small beacon which activates a pink light on the priority seats when it is within a certain range. It aims to alert people on those seats that a pregnant woman is nearby, allowing them to give up their seat quickly and easily.

The aim of the “Pink Light Campaign” is to remove stress and worry regarding public transportation and pregnancy and remove the uncomfortable situation of pregnant women having to ask for a seat.

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One  of the initial testers of the program, Ock Si-Yoon says, “I have felt a bit uncomfortable about getting a seat of claiming a seat reserved for pregnant women.” She explains, “These days people are usually looking at their phones and they are not really aware that a seat is reserved for pregnant women.”

Apart from making public transport pregnant-friendly, South Korea is looking to encourage larger families. Due to the high cost of raising a family in South Korea and the career pressures for women, the average woman is having only 1.21 children. The country has one of the lowest birthrates in the world.

The campaign was initially tested by 500 women in Busan for a week, primarily on city lines. The government plans to install the technology in subway lines and buses throughout the country.

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