Women’s rights advocates called for reform in the male-dominated political system on Tuesday to help more female candidates run for election, as part of efforts to expand their presence in politics.
In a forum held by the state-run Korea Women’s Development Institute, panelists pointed out that a small fraction of the National Assembly and local legislatures were made up of women, suggesting various measures to encourage more women to run in elections.
There are 45 women legislators in the unicameral parliament, accounting for 15 percent of the total 299 members. The figure is lower than the average 19.5 percent of women among 187 members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
The meeting came as a flurry of discussion has been under way among political parties to reform the nomination process to raise their chances in the parliamentary elections scheduled for April next year.
“To help more women participate in politics, legal frameworks are needed,” said Kim Min-jeong, professor at the University of Seoul. “But above all this, women politicians should form networks within parties and retain their careers.”
The current laws recommend political parties nominate females so that they account for 30 percent of the total candidates.
However, the ratio of female candidates of the ruling Grand National Party and the main opposition Democratic Party in the 2008 general elections remained at a much lower 7 percent.