The main opposition Democratic Party appears to be gearing up to resist the government's move to abolish the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, with its chairman voicing concerns for the plans.
According to the Democratic Party of Korea on Sunday, party Chairman Rep. Lee Jae-myung expressed his concern over the reorganization plan, which officially confirmed the abolition of Gender Ministry, at a closed door meeting of the party's supreme council Friday.
"The reform plan is highly likely to grow into a political dispute. The government has set the wrong priorities in its organizational reform," said Lee, implying that it was a dangerous time to discuss an issue that has a high risk of turning to social conflict, as pressing issues related to the economy, diplomacy and security were continuously arising.
Although the statement was made during a closed meeting, it is the first time that Lee has mentioned his objection toward the plan.
The Yoon Suk-yeol administration announced Thursday its plan to shut down the Gender Ministry. The plan would transfer female employment issues to the Labor Ministry, while policies related to youth, family, and gender equality will be managed by a new bureau, named "Population Family Gender Equality Division," under the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Women's rights groups have said the abolition of the Gender Ministry, which was one of Yoon’s pledges in the presidential election, may hold back gender related policy as the status of the agency concerned will be effectively downgraded.
Some within the Democratic Party suspect that the Yoon administration is using the Gender Ministry abolition issue to draw support from young men, and offset the president’s low approval rating.
In the last presidential election, then-presidential candidate Yoon used a similar strategy to draw support from men in their 20s.