the run up to our International
Women’s Day Tour, here at YPT we have been exploring the topic of
women in North Korea. It’s an important topic, given the unending focus on the
role of male leadership and patriarchy in the country. Earlier, we took a look
at how Kim Jong Suk, wife of President Kim Il Sung, was portrayed as a
mother of the nation. Now, we want to explore some other leading
female figures in North Korea’s politics and society. As a result, here we’ve
prepared an overview here of some of those women, both past and present!
Choe Son Hui
If you have been
paying attention to diplomatic negotiations between the United States and the
DPRK recently, you might have heard this name come up. Choe Son Hui is a vice
minister of foreign affairs in North Korea and is the most senior female
diplomat in the country. She is favoured for her family’s revolutionary
background in the Japanese resistance. She is known to be a very smart, tough
and shrewd negotiator.
Kim Kyong Hui
Kim Kyong Hui is
the secretary of organization for the Worker’s party of Korea. She is, in fact,
the younger sister of late leader Kim Jong Il and thus the aunt of Kim Jong Un.
As a little girl, she is depicted in propaganda posters with her young brother
and parents Due to being a member of North Korea’s leading family, she has
played a close role in the state’s politics and economy all her life – and not
always for the better. Her husband was unfortunately, Jang Sung Taek, who
eventually fell on the wrong side of her nephew’s favour. Despite his demise,
she has continued to remain in favour and still appears in KCNA footage.
3. Kim Song Hye
Kim Song Hye is
another leading female diplomat in the DPRK, who has primarily worked in
dealing with relations with the South. Although little is known about her
personal background and despite not being related to the ruling Kim family, she
has nevertheless featured prominently. She debuted in key North-South talks in
the year 2000 and has hosted many South Korean delegations in the country over
the years. In 2018, she accompanied a delegation to Pyeongchang for the DPRK’s
participation in the Winter Olympics. Later that year, she would then meet U.S
President Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo for the summit in Singapore.
Ri Sol Ju
Ri Sol-Ju is the
wife of Kim Jong-un. Coming from a prestigious background in Pyongyang, she
began appearing in public with her husband in 2012. Since then, her public
appearances have become more and more prominent. Her role is particularly
notable as following the death of Kim Jong Suk, no spouse of the DPRK leader
has been heavily featured in the country’s media, if at all. In April 2018, she
assumed the title of “first lady” something that had not been used since 1974.
The couple are speculated to have three children together.
5. Kim Yo Jong
Kim Yo Jong is Kim
Jong Un’s younger sister, and said to be the most powerful woman in the DPRK
right now. She currently occupies a position on the country’s politburo and
directs the Worker’s Party Propaganda Department. Yo Jong rose to prominence in
2018, where she went on an unprecedented public tour of Seoul, led North
Korea’s delegation in the Winter Olympics and then accompanied her brother in
meeting South Korea’s President Moon Jae in at Panmunjom
and support women’s causes in the DPRK!
The preceding list
might have surprised you. If you are passionate about supporting the role of
women around the world, come and join us this march on our International
Women’s Day Tour! We have made a pledge that for every pioneer who
joins us, we will be donating 10 euros to a charity specializing in improving
the lives of female refugees. We’re also offering a 25 euro discount for female
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