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Korean Women's Increasing Participation in Politics Updated: 2012-03-08 12:00:00 KST

Korean Women's Increasing Participation in Politics
An economic researcher-turned-lawmaker says participating in parliamentary politics is very rewarding.

[Interview : Lee Hye-hoon, Lawmaker
Saenuri Party] "Working as a researcher or teaching at a university, my consultations did not result in anything because policymakers did not implement them. But now that I'm a lawmaker, I can turn my ideas into law. I like being able to act on my ideas."

Today, women leaders like Lee Hye-hoon make up 15-percent of the Korean National Assembly, up from 6-percent back in 2004.
And for the first time in history, Korea's ruling, main and minor opposition parties are led by women who are now at the forefront of orchestrating campaigns for the 19th general elections this April.
The increase in the number of women representatives in Korea is due in part to parties working towards a quota system that gives half of the seats to women candidates.
But, women's political participation in Korea falls well below international standards.

[Interview : Shin Nak-yun, Lawmaker
Democratic United Party ] "The average rate of women's political participation in Asia is 18.3%. Korea's rate falls even below the regional average."

To rally for more female leaders' participation in politics, some convened a women's meeting in Yeouido Korea's equivalent to Capitol Hill in the U.S.

[Reporter : Kim Yeon-ji, Reporter
yjkim@arirang.co.kr] "On this international Women's Day, female leaders of Korea, from all walks of life, renewed a pledge to push for more women representatives in politics to a level similar to that found in the international community."

About 30 female candidates who will run in the general elections this April attended the event, where participants cheered them on.
Saying that the most untapped resource in the world is women, they encouraged one another to be the force of positive change.

[Interview : Kim Jung-sook, President
Korean National Council of Women] "Women, who are naturally full of motherly love, are capable of making sacrifices and serving the needs of the nation well. I am convinced that more women participating in politics can make the world a better place."

Whether these female leaders get closer to taking over Yeouido after the April general elections remains to be seen.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News.
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