South Korea’s incoming President Park Geun-hye

South Korea’s incoming President Park Geun-hye is expected to play a key role in helping address gender equality issues and to increase “women’s upward mobility” around the globe, the U.S. ambassador in Seoul said Friday.

Park, the daughter of late president Park Chung-hee, was elected president last month and is set to become the nation’s first female president on Feb. 25. In South Korea, a land of male chauvinism, this is a symbolic breakthrough for women.

“Now that Korea is about to inaugurate its first female president, we expect the country will play an even more important role in women’s upward mobility,” U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Sung Kim said in his latest blog post on his embassy’s Web site.

Kim made the remarks in connection with an annual Women’s Leadership Seminar here for more than 50 emerging women leaders, hosted by the U.S. embassy this month.

This year, South Korea and the U.S. mark 60 years since the allies signed a mutual defense treaty.

Kim said that an 18-meter banner celebrating the 60th anniversary is hanging out front of his embassy, adding, “This proud display lets everyone know just how special this year is.”

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