Economics professor hired for controversial gender ministry


Kim Hyun-sook (presidential transition committee)

Kim Hyun-sook, a former lawmaker and professor of economics at Soongsil University, who was appointed to head the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Affairs, expressed her determination to help the president-elect lead well the abolition of the Sunday ministry.

Kim was a proportional representative in the 19th parliament of the then Saenuri Party, predecessor of the People’s Power Party, and also served as Chief Secretary of Employment and Welfare for the Park Geun-hye administration from 2015 to 2017.

For President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol, she has been the special political adviser, assistant since the start of his election campaign. She handled Yoon’s campaign promises to deal with the country’s low birth rate and aging population, as well as the campaign promise to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.

At the press conference announcing his appointment on Sunday, Kim said “it is too early to predict when the ministry will be reformed.”

“I have experience in managing the work of the Ministry of Gender Equality a few years ago, as I was an administrative member of the Parliamentary Committee for Gender Equality and Family, in the 19th Parliament “, said Kim.

“Because a lot of time has passed since then, I should work to resolve the gender and generational conflicts that are present in the new era.”

She also said she would gather as many opinions as possible so that her ministry could “open a new path forward.”

“As you know, the family agenda is also diversifying, with different forms of families, such as single-person households. I will keep a low profile and communicate with the people and opposition parties, to collect enough opinions to pave the way for a new ministry, Kim said.

Prior to her professorship, she worked as a researcher in state think tanks, the Korea Institute of Public Finance, and the Korea Development Institute.

Born in 1966, Kim majored in economics at Seoul National University and earned a master’s degree at her alma mater. She received her doctorate in the same field from the University of Illinois.

By Jo Herim (


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