Research on Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Leadership in South Korea


The Asia Foundation


Korea, Republic of

Thematic area

Access to economic resources


Since 2018


The context

Although South Korea has experienced impressive economic growth over the past five decades, changes in women’s roles have not kept pace. Only 56.2% of working-aged Korean women participate in the workforce, and, on average, women make 37% less than men. Nearly 50% of women aged 15-54 have experienced career interruption due to marriage, childbirth, and/or other household duties. Additionally, less than 20% of entrepreneurs in Korea are women and only 9% of tech start-up owners are women.


The project

The Asia Foundation conducts an in-depth research project that aims to enhance opportunities for women’s entrepreneurship in South Korea. The research looks into the factors that inhibit or facilitate the creation of women-owned companies in Korea, as well as the circumstances that prevent or enable a women to grow her business or access financial resources. The Asia Foundation seeks to specifically address the cultural and social constraints that impact women entrepreneurs in Korea.


The support

Fondation CHANEL is supporting the Asia Foundation to carry out a one-year in-depth research project on the challenges and opportunities around women’s entrepreneurship in South Korea to build a strong evidence base of factors that hinder or contribute to women’s entrepreneurship.

The expected results

  • Publication of research paper on women’s entrepreneurship in South Korea
  • Dissemination of results among key stakeholders, including business associations, schools, aspiring entrepreneurs, and established entrepreneurs aiming to grow a business


The partner

The Asia Foundation is an international development nonprofit committed to improving lives across Asia. The organization is present in 18 countries and works to address key issues affecting Asia today, including governance and law, economic development, women’s empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation.

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