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Political Representation and South Korean Women

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 March 2010

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In his 1955 book, The Political Role of Women, Maurice Duverger brought our attention to the lack of representation of women in politics. Since that time, the dismal underrepresentation of women in politics has not much improved. Few women rise to leadership positions in politics; as Jean Blondel found in a more recent cross-cultural comparison of political leaders, less than 0.005 percent of all leaders were women (1987, 116–17). Regarding women's political participation, political scientists used to assert that women tended to “limit attention to the superficial and irrelevant aspects of politics” (Lane 1959, 213). Many argued that women had a different political view than did men: they were apolitical, they personalized politics, and they adopted their husbands' political orientations. Accordingly, they became political leaders only by default, as substitutes for deceased husbands or fathers.

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Copyright © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 1999

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