SEOUL-- More than 640 local civic and women's rights activist groups on Friday urged President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol to scrap his pledge to abolish the gender ministry and instead come up with measures to improve gender equality.
"The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Affairs has a historical mandate of resolving gender discrimination and realizing gender equality, and they are still important agenda of this era," a joint statement issued by the groups, including the People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and the Korea Women's Associations United, said.
They said the gender ministry is necessary in South Korea to improve women's rights from the government's policy-making process, citing statistics that women are still struggling with a lower employment rate and subject to more violence than men.
"A ministry in charge of gender affairs plays a role in dealing with the issue in a more comprehensive and systemic way in cooperation with other government ministries," they said. "It is urgent for the new government to map out policies to strengthen the gender ministry's key functions, instead of removing it."
The statement came as the presidential transition committee will receive briefings from the gender ministry later in the day.
President-elect Yoon has pledged to dissolve the 21-year-old ministry, saying the role of the gender ministry is already "outdated" in South Korea.
Source: Yonhap News Agency