With all the scary reports coming out of North Korea, I all but missed the news that South Korea elected its first female president, Park Geun-hye. This is a huge world event! History-making, ground-breaking, even thrilling, and I’m encouraged that this can happen in a country that ranks #108 in the World Economic Forum’s gender-gap rankings. All politics aside, I am excited to see women making progress on the international leadership stage.
I am also inspired by her personal story: Both her mother, Yuk Young-soo, and her father, former president Park Chung-hee, were assassinated. The current Park has devoted her life to serving her country. (Read more about Park and her historic win here.)
She’s able to do this, she stated in a press conference, because “I have no family to take care of and no children to pass wealth to.” Yup, she’s a chero (a hero who happens to be childfree)! “You, the people,” she continued, “are my family and your happiness is the reason that I stay in politics.”
Will she be a successful president? Time will tell. For now, I am somewhat reassured knowing she will face some daunting challenges—challenges that could affect all of us—without the “usual” distractions.
Kathleen Guthrie Woods is a Northern California–based freelance writer. She is mostly at peace with her childfree status.