Published : 2013-01-15 20:00
Updated : 2013-01-15 20:00
Korea will soon have a woman president for the first time in modern history. But the glass ceiling is still evident in the nation’s public organizations, despite progress in gender equality in other sectors.
The proportion of women executives in government departments and public firms was a mere 9.1 percent, or 272 out of 2,993, according to Alio, a website compiling the management information of the public sector on Tuesday.
Also, 51.7 percent of the corresponding organizations had no female members at all on their board and only 5.6 percent were chaired by a female chief.
The figures were especially low in those affiliated with the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the Financial Services Commission and the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, data showed.
Such lack of female leaders in public sectors showed a clear contrast from the growing number of women in major state-run examinations -- 53.1 percent in the Foreign Service Examination and 41.7 percent in the state bar exam last year.
These women officials usually excel in the early stages of their public career but usually face difficulties later, when they reach higher steps.
As a solution, Rep. Chung Mong-joon of the ruling Saenuri Party recently submitted to the National Assembly a bill to raise the female quota in public organs to 15 percent by year 2015 and to 30 percent by 2017.
“In order to promote women’s status in our society, public sectors should first set an example,” said Kim Hyung-joon, professor at Myongji University.
“The gender equality on the executive level is not only a normative goal but also turned out to be effective in pulling up the profits in the corresponding firms.”