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More Women Taking, Passing National Foreign Service Exam

More Women Taking, Passing National Foreign Service Exam

Posted June. 29, 2007 03:53,   


More women than men passed the national foreign service exam this year. The Civil Service Commission (CSC) announced on June 28 a list of 31 people who passed the national foreign service exam. Out of 31, 21, or 67.7%, were women. Ahn Hye-shin (24, senior majoring in English literature at Seoul National University) scored the highest points.

In the last few years, around 35% of women passed the exam, and in 2005, the figure reached 52.6%.

An official from the CSC explained the hike by saying, “The foreign service exam places an emphasis on foreign languages, and women are better at foreign languages than men.” In the second round test, applicants are required to take exams in international politics, international law, economics, English and a foreign language of choice. The fact that there are more competent females wanting to become diplomats is another reason many women are passing the exam. This year, 57.2%, or 757 people out of the total 1,324 applicants were women.

Ahn also said, “There are many female students I know who find becoming a diplomat attractive and want to take the exam.”

The average age of applicants has fallen also from 26.1 to 25.2 years old. That is because the first round exam is the Public Service Aptitude Test (PSAT), which is similar to the college entrance exam, and more students start studying for national exams earlier as they understand the difficulty of getting a job after they graduate from school. Ahn said, “It’s not uncommon to see many students preparing for a national exam when they are freshmen.”

This year a quota system was introduced to give incentives to applicants who graduated from a college outside Seoul. One female applicant who graduated from KAIST benefited from the system and passed the exam.