Categorized | Culture, slider, South Korea

Promoting Gender Diversity in Academia

This briefing comes from Korea View, a weekly newsletter published by the Korea Economic Institute. Korea View aims to cover developments that reveal trends on the Korean Peninsula but receive little attention in the United States. If you would like to sign up, please find the online form here.

What Happened

  • The Ministry of Education announced that national universities must increase the proportion of women professors to 25 percent by 2030.
  • As part of this plan, the government specified annual goals to reduce gender gaps in professional positions.
  • According to a Diversity Report published by Korea University, 16 percent of its professors were female. In comparison, the percentage of female faculty members at several American universities was revealed to be significantly higher at over 50 percent.

Implications: While the share of female faculty in South Korean academia continues to lag, the government’s new benchmark for hiring more women professors over the next decade may affect social norms around gender diversity. Through these new goals, the Moon administration seeks to not only increase representation of women in the labor force, but also shift general attitudes toward gender equality. As women still face gender bias in higher education, a push to extend more professional positions to females can help overturn pervasive stereotypes.

Context: As featured in a previous issue of Korea View, the South Korean government’s push to enforce greater gender parity have not only led to progressive gender quotas but also notable shifts in attitudes. With measures like male parental leave, more men have started to contribute to jobs that were traditionally viewed as suited for women, such as caring for household duties. At the same time, women have made advances in roles conventionally viewed as a male occupation. Yet, despite these changes, South Korea ranked 108 out of 153 on the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Index – an indication that public policies fall short of transforming women’s position in society.

Korea View was edited by Yong Kwon with the help of James Constant and Sonia Kim.

Picture from flickr user Hyunwoo Sun

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