Gender minister opposes campaign pledges to abolish ministry
SEOUL-- The gender equality minister on Wednesday opposed some politicians' call to dissolve her ministry, saying it still has more work to do to reduce gender discrimination and violence against socially vulnerable groups.
"I think, as a full-fledged government ministry, the gender ministry has made achievements in enhancing female rights and gender equality in our society," Chung Young-ai, minister of gender equality and family, told reporters in her first official position on the controversial issue.
Last week, Yoo Seong-min and Ha Tae-keung, both competing to win the main opposition People Power Party (PPP)'s ticket to run in the March 9 presidential election, pledged to dissolve the gender equality ministry as part of their campaign promises.
PPP Chairman Lee Jun-seok has sided with them, arguing that the gender ministry has outlived its lifespan as a special missions ministry or had no roles from the outset.
Their calls have stirred up a heated debate among politicians over the necessity and role of the ministry.
Chung stressed her ministry played a major role in scrapping the patriarchal family registry system in the late 2000s and has worked on plans to support victims of domestic violence, single mothers and multicultural families since its establishment two decades ago.
But the minister noted that her office still has a long way to go to improve gender equality in Korean society regardless of the political debate.
"I'm aware of the public debate and concerns over the gender ministry," she said. "To create a fair society where no female and male are discriminated is the beginning and the end of our ministry."
The minister said she will make more effort to promote gender awareness in the government's policymaking process and realize a sustainably inclusive society in the future.
"In an advanced country, every group and individual enjoys their life and shares the fruit of social development," she said. "The gender ministry will do its best to create a sustainable society that embraces all."
The gender ministry was established in early 2001 as a campaign pledge of the Kim Dae-jung administration. It is in charge of planning gender-related policies, such as expanding women's social participation, preventing domestic and sexual violence and protecting victims.
Source: Yonhap News Agency