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South Korea’s new president stumbles after he’s asked how he’ll advance women after making campaign promise to shut down the Ministry of Gender Equality – claiming it treated men like ‘potential sex criminals’

  • South Korea’s new President Yoon Suk Yeol stumbled through the final question posed to him at a press conference alongside President Joe Biden in Seoul 
  • Yoon ran for office pleding to rid South Korea of the Ministry of Gender Equality – claiming it treated men like ‘potential sex criminals’ 
  • The Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim pressed him on the issue at the Saturday press conference held after Yoon’s bilateral meeting with Biden 
  • She noted the campaign promise, the lack of diversity in his cabinet and how Korea ranks on the professional development of countries

South Korea‘s new leader President Yoon Suk Yeol stumbled through the final question posed to him at a press conference alongside President Joe Biden in Seoul on Saturday. 

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Yoon ran for office pleding to rid South Korea of the Ministry of Gender Equality – claiming it treated men like ‘potential sex criminals.’ 

The Washington Post’s Seung Min Kim pressed him on the issue, noting the campaign promise, but also that he had selected cabinet nominees who were ‘overwhelmingly male’  and that Korea ranks low among developed countries on the professional development of women. 

South Korea's new leader President Yoon Suk Yeol stumbled through the final question posed to him at a press conference alongside President Joe Biden in Seoul on Saturday

South Korea’s new leader President Yoon Suk Yeol stumbled through the final question posed to him at a press conference alongside President Joe Biden in Seoul on Saturday

The question on gender equality was the last of the two-by-two press conference, and as soon as Yoon (right) gave his succinct answer he and Biden (left) put on their masks and left the stage

The question on gender equality was the last of the two-by-two press conference, and as soon as Yoon (right) gave his succinct answer he and Biden (left) put on their masks and left the stage 

Yoon took a long pause before answering Kim’s query.

‘If you look at the public official sector, especially the ministers in the cabinet, we really didn’t see a lot of women advancing to that position thus far,’ Yoon said.

‘Probably in various regions, equal opportunities were not fully ensured for women, and we have quite a short history of ensuring that,’ he continued.  

‘So what we’re trying to do is to very actively ensure such opportunities for women,’ the new leader added. 

The bilateral meeting and press conference marked Yoon’s 11th day in office.  

In April, after Yoon won election but before his swearing-in, his team backed away from the conservative president-elect’s pledge to end the Ministry of Gender Equality. 

Instead, Yoon would appoint his own cabinet minister.

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During the campaign, Yoon accused officials from the Ministry of Gender Equality of treating men like ‘potential sex criminals’ and claimed women in Korea do not suffer from systemic sexism, according to The Independent.  

His wife, Kim Keon-hee, came under fire in January for saying she and her husband supported Ahn Hee-jung, who previously ran for president of South Korea, but is currently in prison for raping his secretary. 

‘I feel really sorry for Ahn. My husband and I are strongly on Ahn’s side,’ the now first lady said on a phone call. 

Kim’s question was the last of the two-by-two press conference, in which two reporters from each of the countries asks a question of both leaders.

As soon as Yoon gave his succinct answer, he and Biden put their masks back on and walked offstage.  

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