A critical review of gender in South Korea's official development assistance

Jisun Song, Eun Mee Kim

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7 Scopus citations


This paper critically examines the gender aspects of South Korea's Official Development Assistance (ODA) with a focus on its legal and policy framework, financial and human resource input, using data on ODA activities from 1991 and 2006 to the present based on KOICA and OECD's gender marked data, respectively. Gender equality is an important cross-cutting issue for poverty reduction through women's empowerment in developing countries. It is also recognized by the OECD and other international organizations as being key to enhancing aid effectiveness. The OECD pointed out in its Special Review on South Korea's ODA, conducted in 2008, that South Korea has not paid much attention on cross-cutting issues, particularly gender equality. This paper concludes that although the South Korean government has made some progress toward enhancing gender issues in its ODA policy framework and guidelines, major challenges remain in emphasizing the significance of gender among its various ODA-related ministries and implementation agencies. There is no consistently holistic approach to gender in government and its actual implementation, as reflected in aid projects, different sectors, types of aid, and the organizational structure of ODA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-96
Number of pages25
JournalAsian Journal of Women's Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013


  • Gender equality
  • Gender mainstreaming
  • Official development assistance
  • South korea
  • Women's empowerment


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