Yoon Suk-yeol won the March election by an extremely narrow margin after appealing to disgruntled young, male voters with a promise to scrap the Ministry of Gender Equality.
South Korean president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol's team has backed away from the avowed anti-feminist's campaign pledge to abolish the country's Ministry of Gender Equality.
Yoon won the March election by an extremely narrow margin after appealing to disgruntled young, male voters with a promise to scrap the ministry, which has become a lightning rod in the country's bitter debates over gender.
On the campaign trail, he repeatedly claimed that South Korean women do not suffer from "systemic gender discrimination" - despite much evidence to the contrary around the gender wage gap, female workforce participation and political and corporate top-end representation.
But on Thursday, his transition team said they would keep the ministry for now and appoint their own minister for gender equality.
"It has been decided that the composition of the cabinet will be based on the current government system," Ahn Cheol-soo, the head of the committee, told reporters.
The committee will announce its new gender equality minister, along with other members of its cabinet, Ahn said, adding they will still be looking at whether they will restructure.
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The newly appointed gender equality minister will "be tasked with setting up a plan to identify problems and whether there are better reorganisation measures available," he said.
Experts had previously said abolishing the ministry outright - as Yoon once promised - would be difficult, as it would require revising legislation in parliament, currently controlled by the country's liberals.
After the election, Yoon had promised to go through with his pledge, saying that if he did not, he would have "lied" to his supporters.
"The pledge is still valid," Choo Kyung-ho, an official on his transition team, told reporters on Thursday.
But there were still "different opinions" about how best to reorganise, which was why the plan had been delayed, he said.
Yoon's battle cry against the ministry in particular appears to have galvanised female voters - with more than 10,000 young women joining the left-leaning Democratic Party after the election.
But Yoon "can still incite his base and push back against the women's equality agenda through speeches, statements, and his rhetoric," Linda Hasunuma, a political scientist at Temple University, told AFP.
Even if the ministry remains for now, the attacks on it can still be used to "stoke these divisions, fears, and misinformation about women's equality."
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