Go to contents

First Lady

Posted August. 09, 2017 07:14,   

Updated August. 09, 2017 07:55


Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, showed what is expected from first lady by being active in social reform. She held a press conference for the first time as First Lady and had her staff. First Lady became an official title in the White House after a budget was allocated for her by law in 1978. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton teamed up with his wife Hillary Clinton starting from the presidential campaign in 1992 with a slogan “Two for One Price.” Hillary moved her office from the East Wing to the West Wing and worked in "Hillaryland."

Unlike the U.S., no official status is legally given to First Lady in France. The wife of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Cecilia Sarkozy, served a presidential envoy for the release of Bulgarian nurses detained in Libya, but this did not bring a change in the official role of a president’s wife. First Lady in France has an office and a secretariat in the Elysee Palace. But they are given as a courtesy.

French President Emanuel Macron is under fire as he intends to give Brigitte Trogneux, his wife, a “First Lady” status like the U.S. Before the presidential election, he said, "If I am elected - no, sorry, when we are elected - she will be there, with a role and a place.” About 200,000 French people signed a petition against the idea, saying that it is contradictory to give a First Lady status at a time when politicians are leading reform not to use a president’s family members as advisors. French people believe that advisors, secretaries and bodyguards costing over 600 million won (530,900 U.S. dollars) per year are enough.

No law defines the role of a president’s wife in Korea. She has only her staff. This is why people say either she is overly visible or she has too little presence. When a first lady lacked presence, some said, “It is shadow support. It changes sometimes like, “First Lady Yuk Young-soo was a few steps behind President Park Chung-hee while First Lady Lee Soon-ja was right behind President Chun Doo-hwan.” Still, the wife of former U.S. President Richard Nixon who said "Being first lady is the hardest unpaid job in the world" seems to be right.