South Koreans have just elected their first female president, Park Geun-hye. That’s especially notable in a country with a strong patriarchal culture. It’s also notable because Park was the more conservative choice in the election, particularly on national defense issues.
Her opponent promised to hold a summit meeting with North Korea; Park said she would not unless North Korea apologized for its recent military provocations. She is also expected to reaffirm South Korea’s ties with the United States.
In the United States, attitudes toward female candidates are also changing and, as in South Korea, most prominent female candidates who’ve won in recent years have been conservatives. Oklahoma’s 2010 gubernatorial race was actually only the fourth such race in U.S. history to offer a choice between two female candidates.
Here and across the globe, voters clearly are less concerned about gender than a candidate’s platform.