S. Korea 105th in number of women in parliament

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  • Abdullah pays tribute to Karpal’s life of service – Bernama
    Abdullah pays tribute to Karpal’s life of service – Bernama

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Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - New data confirmed the miserable status of women in politics in Korea, which elected its first female president in December.

The nation placed 105th in a global ranking of the proportion of women in parliament according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international organization of national parliaments from 162 countries.

South Korea is right below Albania and just above North Korea. Women currently take up 47 seats, or 15.7 percent, of the 300 in the National Assembly, the nation's unicameral legislature.

In countries with a bicameral legislature, members of the lower house were considered for the ranking.

Among the 687 members of the Supreme People's Assembly, North Korea's unicameral parliament, 107, or 15.6 percent, are women.

Although European nations generally ranked high on the list, there does not appear to be a discernible trend that can explain the rankings. Rwanda placed first, followed by Andorra and Cuba.

The U.S. placed 95th in the ranking, right below Slovakia and above Venezuela. Other notable members of the OECD, an organization of rich countries, also placed low in the ranking. Japan placed 143rd, as among its 479 members in the lower house of the National Diet, only 51, or 10.6 percent, were women. China placed 75th, with 21.3 percent of the 2,978 available seats in the National People's Congress held by women.

Female representation in the lawmaking body of a nation is commonly used to measure gender equality. In the Global Gender Gap Index compiled by the World Economic Forum last year, China placed 69th, while South Korea, the U.S., and Japan placed 108th, 22nd, and 101st, respectively.

"For women, the risk is higher that their work experience will be cut short or they will have to quit midway due to birth and child care, and the road to re-entering the workforce (after childbirth) is very narrow," said Kim Gwang-seok, a researcher at Hyundai Research Institute.

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