Go to contents

The women shall lead

Posted December. 08, 2012 07:58,   


For a department head at Samsung Electronics, an average of four years is needed for promotion to director. For 38-year-old Cho In-ha, however, it took just nine months. In charge of TV commercial marketing in Latin America, she earned a bachelor`s in statistics at Chonbuk National University and a master’s at Sogang University`s Graduate School of Business. Cho is the first woman for Samsung to send to Argentina to head TV marketing, and has made remarkable achievements since 2007. Through aggressive marketing strategies, she helped Samsung raise sales by 12 percent in Argentina and top the market there with a share of 36 percent. The company promoted her to department head in March. This month, she was once again promoted to director to become an executive. Her promotion has shattered the stereotype that women are not as competitive as men in sales or marketing.

Since 2009, the college enrollment rate of women has surpassed that of men in Korea. Women have also dominated those who pass the law bar and foreign and civil service exams. According to Statistics Korea, the female manager ratio gradually increased from 14.9 percent in 2002 to 21 percent in 2010 and 21.4 percent last year, but there is a long way to go. Korea’s gender equality ranks 108th out of 135 countries according to the World Economic Forum. The country also has the worst wage gap between sexes at 117th and ranks 104th in the number of female executives. These numbers reflect the reality in Korea that though many young women get jobs in the public and private sectors, most are denied opportunities to work in core projects and given few chances to get promotions.

Hanna Rosin, a senior editor at “The Atlantic,” said in his book “The End of Men” that modern societies are moving from patriarchal to matriarchal. In the U.S., the percentage of women who work as professionals or are managers such as doctors, lawyers or pharmacists increased from 21.6 percent in 1980 to 51.4 percent in 2011. In China, more than 40 percent of private companies belong to women. The shift of power from men to women is an irreversible trend. Utilizing female resources is not only beneficial for women, but also for the survival of companies and society.

Samsung promoted a record number of female employees on Friday to executive posts, including Cho, in a regular personnel reshuffle. Contrary to expectations, however, no woman was appointed as a CEO but 12 women were promoted to executives, up from nine last year. Korea will clearly benefit if more women break the glass ceiling this month given that companies will announce their annual personnel shakeups.

Editorial Writer Koh Mi-seok (mskoh119@donga.com)