Sitting Pretty

This South Korean Tech Shames People Who Leave Pregnant Women Standing On Subways

When you’re not exactly sure if a woman is pregnant, you know it’s not a good idea to ask. The one and only exception to this rule is on public transportation. If you’re using that then you’re kind of a dick either way — that is, unless you’re from South Korea. According to the Associated Press, the city of Busan has been testing wireless technology since April that’s supposed to help people recognize when a pregnant woman needs a seat, before she’s about to pop.

As a part of the “Pink Light Campaign” pregnant women in Busan can pick up a wireless device called a beacon at locations around the city free of charge. Like a bluetooth, when a pregnant woman with the beacon (and child) gets on the train, it connects with a pink light that blinks, alerting seated passengers that there’s a baby on board without any dirty looks. The technology itself is great, but still leaves South Korea with one big problem: finding any pregnant women to use it (not including the actresses in the commercial for it).

The beacons are part of a much broader effort to increase birthrate in Korea overall, which is 1.19 per woman (compared to 1.862 in the U.S.) and has some experts worried that the country could go extinct. In Seoul, they’ve made subways similarly pregnancy-friendly by installing bright pink seats. Unfortunately, public transit isn’t the only thing that’s keeping people from getting pregnant, so this probably won’t solve the problem entirely. But at the very least, it will make rush hour a little less awkward.

[H/T] The Big Story

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