Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science, Comparitive Politics

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Farida Jalalzai, Ph.D.


David Kimball, Ph.D.


Adriano Udani, Ph.D.

Brian Fogarty, Ph.D.

Mona Lena Krook, Ph.D.


This study examines women’s political representation in pre-election (candidate nomination), election, and post-election (legislative activities) stages in South Korea. First, I examined factors contributing to electing women to the National Assembly in the eight national legislative elections since democratization in 1987. I conducted statistical analysis to examine how a candidate’s political experience, major party nomination, incumbency, and districts’ party loyalty affect the candidate’s electoral victory and how each influences women and men differently. I also interviewed candidates, candidate aspirants, elected legislators, legislative staffers, scholars and activists on their personal experiences with major party nomination and election campaigns.

Second, I analyzed how legislators’ gender, partisanship, ideology, and gender stereotypes interact in shaping lawmakers’ legislative priorities. Using digital archives, I tracked who proposed women-friendly bills in the previous four Assemblies (2000-2016) and analyzed how invisible factors such as electoral rules, the culture of parliaments, party affiliation, and their seat types affect lawmakers’ legislative agendas and productivity, using both statistical analysis and interview analysis.

This research contributes to the literature on gender and politics. There is very little known about the effectiveness of gender quotas on women’s political representation in the South Korean context. By identifying promotional or inhibitive factors leading to the election of more women to the national legislature, the findings propose policy measures that appear more effective in tackling the issue of women’s underrepresentation in politics. Based on original data in Korean language, this research also provides valuable resources for comparative studies in the future.