January 19, 2022

South Korea Gender Divide Emerges as Key Election Issue

Source: Deutsche Welle

The issue of gender has taken center stage in South Korea's fiercely contested presidential election campaign, with both of the leading candidates proposing policies designed to appeal to the critical generation of young swing voters.

With the election set for March 9, one of the most controversial proposals to emerge on the campaign trail has been a plan to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and fold its functions into other ministries.


"Gender is a key issue in this election because the 20s to 30s age group are crucial swing voters and that's where the 'gender conflict' is the hottest," said Duyeon Kim, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank in Seoul.

"Young men feel discriminated against when it comes to jobs, claiming that opportunities are in favor of women based solely on gender and not merit, while young women are tired of a patriarchal society and advocate for gender equality," she told DW.

"Gender equality policies have been perceived by men as preferential treatment toward women during the current administration of Moon Jae-in, and they view feminism as reverse discrimination toward men," she added.

Read the full story and more from Deutsche Welle here.


  • Dr. Duyeon Kim

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Indo-Pacific Security Program

    Duyeon Kim, PhD, is an adjunct senior fellow with the Indo-Pacific Security Program at CNAS based in Seoul. Her expertise includes the two Koreas, nuclear nonproliferation, ar...