One of South Korea’s most prestigious institutions has appointed its first female economics professor in response to a government initiative to promote gender equality.
Seoul National University’s choice of the unnamed appointee – who will start her job in September – made headlines in South Korea.
Currently, all the institution’s 35 economics professors are male, as they have been since the economics department was established in 1946.
The department has been termed a “no female” zone by critics, The Korea Times reported.
“We have only accepted female applicants in line with the government’s aim to boost gender equality,” said SNU.
“The previous selection criteria for the position of economics professor were based on research results, education and thesis. They were hired based on total scores, so that might be the reason why there were no female professors,” said an official from the SNU economics department.
The official added that the department’s decision to hire a female professor was “not only because of the government’s gender equality policy”, but also down to a desire “to offer a variety of learning opportunities for our students”.