Record number of women lawmakers win constituency seats in general election, but still have long way to go

2024.04.12 18:13 입력 2024.04.12 18:18 수정
Shin Joo-young

Choo Mi-ae of the Democratic Party of Korea, who won the Gyeonggi-do Hanam seat in the April 10 general election, raises her arms in celebration at her election office in Hanam, Gyeonggi-do, on Monday morning. Courtesy of Chu's campaign office

Choo Mi-ae of the Democratic Party of Korea, who won the Gyeonggi-do Hanam seat in the April 10 general election, raises her arms in celebration at her election office in Hanam, Gyeonggi-do, on Monday morning. Courtesy of Chu's campaign office

A total of 36 women won constituency seats in the general election on April 11.

In the general election on April 11, women won 36 constituency seats. This is the most in any general election in history, but it is less than 15 percent of the total constituency seats. In Daejeon, a female lawmaker secured a constituency seat for the first time. In the 10th general election since the democratization of Korea, female lawmakers are still described with the modifier, "first.”

In this election, 24 women and 12 women secured constituency seats from the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) and the ruling People’s Power Party (PPP), respectively.

The New Future Party, the New Reform Party, and the Progressive Party, which won one seat each, all produced male lawmakers.

In Daejeon, the first two DPK female lawmakers won constituency seats. Hwang Jung-ah defeated five-term PPP lawmaker Lee Sang-min in Yuseong-eul district. Hwang is a space science expert from KAIST and is a real-life model for the main character of a drama. In the district where Daedeok Research Complex is located, she ran for the election as a female scientist-turned candidate, criticizing the Yoon Suk-yeol administration's cuts to the research and development (R&D) budget.

DPK candidate Park Jung-hyun beat incumbent Park Young-soon, a New Future Party lawmaker, in Daedeok-eul district. In Suncheon, Gwangyang, Gokseong, and Gurye in South Jeolla Province, Kwon Hyang-yup won the honor of becoming the first female lawmaker in the province in 46 years.

Female candidates also shined in battleground districts. In Seoul's Jung-gu and Seongdong-gap districts, two female candidates faced off against each other, with Jeon Hyun-hee of the DPK winning. In Dongjak-eul district, Na Kyung-won of the PPP defeated Ryu Sam-young, who was heavily supported by DPK leader Lee Jae-myung. Nah, who has served four terms since the 17th National Assembly, failed to win a seat in the district in the last general election, but with this victory, she became a five-term lawmaker. She is the most elected among the PPP’s female lawmakers who will work for the 22nd National Assembly.

Kim Eun-hye, former senior presidential secretary for public relations at the presidential office, defeated incumbent DPK candidate Kim Byung-wook in Seongnam Bundang-eul district in Gyeonggi Province. She was the only candidate from the presidential staff to win a seat in the Seoul metropolitan area in the general election.

Lee Eon-joo of the DPK is returning to the National Assembly for the first time in four years after securing a seat in Yongin-jeong district in Gyeonggi Province. A lawmaker of Gwangmyeong-eul in the 19th and 20th National Assembly, she left the DPK in 2017 and returned to the party in February this year.

Choo Mi-ae became a six-term lawmaker after winning a constituency seat in Hanam-gap district in Gyeonggi Province. She is expected to be the first female speaker of the National Assembly. A former judge, she served five terms (in the 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th, and 20th National Assembly) and also served as party leader. She served as justice minister during the Moon Jae-in administration when she clashed with then-Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-yeol.

PPP’s Kim Hee-jung, who defeated Roh Jung-hyun, a unified candidate from the opposition parties in the Yeonje district in Busan, became the only three-term lawmaker from the ruling party in Busan. Kim said she will serve as a standing committee chairperson in the 22nd National Assembly. She was a member of the 17th and 19th National Assembly and served as Minister of Gender Equality and Family in the Park Geun-hye government.

※This article has undergone review by a professional translator after being translated by an AI translation tool.

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