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Beyond the policy rhetoric: the limitations of gender mainstreaming in South Korea relating to women and childcareThis article examines the limitations of the gender mainstreaming discourse regarding the issue of childcare by women in South Korea, an area of responsibility that was transferred from the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MHW) to the Ministry of Gender Equality (MGE)1 in 2003. Through employing a discursive institutionalism approach, this article articulates that whilst the gender mainstreaming discourse has been interpreted at the surface level of politics, it has been formulated differently behind the scenes due to various policy interests. I argue that the discourse has remained at the level of superficial political rhetoric with underdeveloped understanding about the relationship between childcare and gender, thus retaining a stereotypical view of women as caregivers.
Gender mainstreaming in South Korea – a critical analysis through discursive institutionalism around the issue of childcareThe paper aims to reflect critically on the impact of the gender mainstreaming movement upon the issue of childcare in South Korea. To achieve this, I build on data generated from in-depth interviews with key policy actors who participated in relevant policy implementations as well as policy documents collected and analysed through a discursive institutionalism approach. The paper explores two aspects of gender mainstreaming discourse in South Korea and is especially related to the transfer of childcare duty from the Ministry of Welfare and Health to the Ministry of Gender Equality; how it was interpreted in front of politics (‘discourse as content’) and formulated at the back of it (‘discourse as process’). I argue that the discourse of gender mainstreaming around the transfer decision was variously approached by different policy interests and constrained by the dominant gender role regarding childcare (rhetoric policy dependency).