A Korean Perspective on Leadership for the 21st Century

National Assembly Member Na Kyung-won (L) and Asia Society Korea Center Executive Director Yvonne Kim (R) at the closing session in Singapore on Apr. 1, 2011.
National Assembly Member Na Kyung-won (L) and Asia Society Korea Center Executive Director Yvonne Kim (R) at the closing session in Singapore on Apr. 1, 2011.

SINGAPORE, April 1, 2011 - Speaking on the varying modalities that women are coming to assume in sector-specific leadership, Na Kyung-won, member of the 18th National Assembly of the Republic of Korea, was one of eight featured international speakers at the Second Annual Summit of Women Leaders of New Asia in Singapore on April 1, 2011.

Na offered a Korean perspective in the closing plenary session on "Establishing an Action Agenda," hosted by Asia Society President Vishakha N. Desai. Accompanying Na was Yvonne Kim, Executive Director of Asia Society Korea Center, who attended the summit as an Advisory Board member of Asia Society's Women Leaders of New Asia Committee.

An experienced judge and attorney-at-law, as well as noted special needs and disabilities advocate, Na recommended policy makers educate themselves on the kinds of measures needed in order to support women with high potential. Rather than evaluate the changing trends of women leadership with a traditionally male-dominated approach, Na said that women need to evaluate leadership by carrying with them a "21st-century sensibility" focused on the 4F's: fashion, femininity, fusion, and film.

For example, women cannot expect men to have babies, Na remarked. Therefore, if women are going to champion the cause of equality, they must also advocate for policies that allow men to help women during their maternity leave. Additionally, Na said, women who want to establish an action agenda must zero in on the needs of their industry and focus on the quality, not quantity, of female leadership in Asia.