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Yoon prioritizes appointment of female leaders in cabinet

Yoon prioritizes appointment of female leaders in cabinet

Posted May. 27, 2022 07:54,   

Updated May. 27, 2022 07:54


President Yoon Suk-yeol nominated Thursday Professor Park Soon-ae at the Graduate School of Administrative Studies at Seoul National University (SNU) as candidate for the Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Education and former lawmaker Kim Seung-hee as Minister of Health and Welfare. The president also nominated Dean Oh Yu-kyeong of the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Studies at SNU, filling the candidate list announced on this day with female nominees and moving away from his tendency to prefer male candidates in their 50s with SNU background.

President Yoon appointed female professionals as nominees for the Minister of Education and Minister of Health and Welfare, which had remained vacant since candidates Kim In-cheol and Jeong Ho-yeong reigned as nominees. Only three females have been appointed so far as cabinet members: Minister of Gender Equality and Family (Kim Hyun-suk), Minister of SME and Start-ups (Lee Young) and Minister of Environment (Han Hwa-jin). If the two candidates obtain parliamentary approval, there would be a total of five female ministers among 18 ministries, which would bring the ratio up to 27.7%, the same ratio campaigned by former President Moon Jae-in for his first cabinet.

President Yoon is known to have encouraged this move. He recently spoke to aides advising them to consider female candidates first and nominate male candidates only if there is no one eligible.

Such moves reflect Yoon’s determination to reflect diversity other than only competence, moving away from his previous style of refusing to designate quota or allocations. “These changes are also expected to take place at director general level appointments at ministry level,” said a high-ranking official at the Presidential Office. “President Yoon wishes and makes efforts to appoint more female leaders.”

Kwan-Seok Jang jks@donga.com