The Ministry of Education is gathering attention as a women-dominated arm of the government. It is the first time in 70 years that both the minister and the vice minister are women since the Ministry of Education and Culture, the forerunner of the ministry was established in 1948.
Although incumbent Education Minister Yoo Eun-hye has two female predecessors, Park Chun-ran is the first woman to become the vice minister. Yoo recently appointed Kim Hyun-joo, a former officer for International Education Cooperation, to become her new chief of staff. Former Education Minister Kim Sang-gon chose Lee Ju-hee, a senior officer at the ministry, as the head of operations support in charge of human resources. As such, major posts as listed hereinbefore at the ministry have been taken over by women.
Meanwhile, it is the second time for the ministry to see women take the positions of chief of staff and head of operations support at the same time. Lee Nan-young, the current head of social policy cooperation, was the first chief of staff of the ministry, recommended by the then minister Lee Ju-ho, who proposed merit-based personnel management, under the Lee Myung-bak administration.
Some voices say that women’s rise in the ministry is circumstantial evidence that personnel management has been poorly done so far, rather than an unprecedented achievement. The Education Ministry is one of the exemplary agencies that have more women than men, with women taking up 69.9 percent of the staff (as of late 2016). Nevertheless, only eight out of 24 managerial-level officials, or 33 percent, below the minister are women.
In her inauguration speech, newly appointed Education Minister Yoo emphasized that she would give priority to anyone who works hard and qualifies for a job, raising expectations among women staffers. It is expected that she will aggressively identify women talents, a measure in line with President Moon’s plans to increase the ratio of women managers within the administration. "The proportion of women managers at the ministry would reach an all-time high during Minister Yoo’s tenure," projected a ministry official.
Woo-Sun Lim firstname.lastname@example.org