WID, GAD or Somewhere Else? A critical analysis of gender in Korea's international education and development

Lee, Ji Min;Yoo, Sung-Sang;Hong, Moon Suk

  • Published : 2019.07.22


Over the past few decades, gender equality has been considered one of the fundamental principles and a significant crosscutting issue in international development. However, beyond applying 'gender equality' as a policy buzzword, there has been a lack of critical reviews on how generally 'gender equality in education' is understood and constructed in Korea's development programs and projects. In this regard, this paper explores the use of vocabularies and semantic meanings of gender equality in the Korean Government's Academic Cooperation Program and its 52 projects. By applying mixed contents analysis as a method, the research resulted in several findings: first, the policy papers recently highlighted Korea's directions on gender mainstreaming and gender-sensitive approaches in international development. Second, 'integrating women and girls' into education institutions was emphasized in various projects; third, the term women rather than gender were used in the texts, highlighting their position as a 'marginalized group.' Lastly, there was a lack of evidence of projects dealing with changing gender-based power relations. The constructed gendered relations and powers were identified throughout projects, usually acting as barriers to project activities. However, they were only identified, not challenged, by the program. In conclusion, whilst Korean international development and educational development discourse actively embrace Women in Development (WID) and Gender and Development (GAD) in their programs, it is time to consider the issue of gender equality from different standpoints, such as identity, rights, and capabilities and a more active engagement with Korea's domestic issues in gender discourse and practices is also needed.


Korea;East Asian donor;international education and development;women in development (WID);gender in development (GAD);mixed content analysis