South Korea has pulled down a website showing where its most fertile female citizens lived within hours of it going live.
The pink-coloured map showed users where there were most women aged 15 to 49 as part of the government’s drive to reverse a flagging birth rate.
But a storm of criticism led it to deactivate the site while it undergoes corrections. People had complained that it treated the birth rate as a problem that only related to women, because there were no pictures of men on the site.
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Feminist campaigner Lee Min-kyung, 24, said: “I felt so angered that it blatantly showed how the government saw women’s bodies as the country’s reproductive tools.”
South Korean ministers said the website “was established to encourage local governments to learn and compare other governments’ benefits and to promote free competition”.
Users could also check what benefits local authorities could give them if they had a child, the average marriage age and other information.
The country has tried a number of methods to boost the birth rate, including cracking down on illegal abortions and turning off lights in office buildings early to encourage workers to head home.
South Korea has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, significantly lower than it was 50 years ago. Officials fear a shrinking workforce will hit economic growth.