Policy efforts to increase women faculty in Korea: Reactions and changes at universities

Namhee Kim, Hea Jun Yoon, Gary N. McLean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Since 2001, the issue of the low ratio of women faculty in universities has been prominent in Korea because of its negative impact on female students and gender equality at the university level that has affected human resource development and utilization at the national level. To address this issue, the Korean government developed and executed an education policy, the Policy on Women Faculty Increase (PWFI) from 2004 to 2006. This paper investigated reactions to the PWFI and changes made as a result of the policy in the conservative Korean higher education context. We found that although the PWFI has particularly contributed to increasing the representativeness of women faculty in areas in which women faculty used to be rare, overall the PWFI has not made significant improvements in most participating universities due to the lack of internal motives and drivers and effective systems to support the policy. Recommendations for improvements in the policy are offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-299
Number of pages15
JournalAsia Pacific Education Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study is based on the evaluation research project of PWFI funded by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MOEHRD). The lead author of this paper took charge of this project in 2006, which was the end of the first 3-year phase from 2004 to 2006. The objectives of the research project were to evaluate the policy and to recommend future revisions of the policy. In this article, the outcomes and effectiveness of the policy have been examined and recommendations made.


  • Education policy
  • Higher education
  • Korea
  • Women faculty


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