Rights watchdog chief voices concern over move to abolish gender ministry

Song Doo-hwan, chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission the National Assembly answers lawmakers' questions during the National Assembly audit, March 8. Yonhap

Song Doo-hwan, chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission the National Assembly answers lawmakers’ questions during the National Assembly audit, March 8. Yonhap

The chief of the National Human Rights Commission voiced concerns Friday over the government’s move to abolish the gender ministry, calling for continued efforts to address gender discrimination.

Song Doo-hwan, chairman of the commission, said in a statement marking International Women’s Day that the move to abolish the ministry raises concerns whether it would be possible to formulate policy for rooting out gender discrimination and realizing gender equality.

Song pointed to various figures showing the country’s deep-seated gender inequality problem, including the gender wage gap, which came to 31 percent in 2022, which makes South Korea the sole country to surpass the 30 percent mark among OECD countries.

The percentage of female lawmakers in the 21st National Assembly only stood at 19 percent, with the country ranking 120th in the world in the proportion of female lawmakers as of late 2023, he added.

“Our society still has a lot of tasks that need improvement to create a safe environment for women,” Song said. “We will continue efforts to realize women’s human rights and gender equality values.” (Yonhap)

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