Korean cosmetics sales workers in department stores face harmful working environments, including limited restroom access, working long hours in a standing position, and customer violence. This study investigated health disparities between cosmetics saleswomen and the general population of working women in South Korea. We assessed the prevalence of health indicators, including physician-diagnosed disease, using a cross-sectional survey of 860 Korean cosmetics saleswomen in September 2018. Health indicators of cosmetics saleswomen were compared to those of general working women from the nationally representative datasets (e.g., National Health Insurance Service-National Sample Cohort). We estimated age-standardized prevalence ratios (SPRs) for health outcomes, including physical, mental, and health-related behavioral conditions. Cosmetics saleswomen were more likely to be diagnosed or treated for physical and mental conditions (e.g., cystitis SPR: 4.03, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 3.48-4.65; plantar fasciitis SPR: 23.48, 95% CI: 18.12-29.93; varicose vein SPR: 38.41, 95% CI: 32.18-45.49; and depression SPR: 11.18, 95% CI: 8.53-14.40) compared to general working women. Prevalence of smoking and hazardous alcohol consumption was also higher among cosmetics saleswomen than those of general women workers. Given our findings, further research is needed to identify work-related risk factors that could deteriorate cosmetic sales workers’ health in South Korea.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors are grateful to the Korean Federation of Service Workers’ Union’s support for collecting the data. This research was supported by the Korea University Graduate School Junior Fellow Research Grant.
© The Author(s) 2021.
- South Korea
- department store
- health disparities
- standardized prevalence ratio
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy