Politician, 28, sparks sexism furore over red dress

·2-min read

A young female politician has sparked controversy after she turned up to parliament wearing a short red dress.

Ryu Ho-jeong, who at 28 is the youngest member of South Korea’s National Assembly, has been targeted with a barrage of abusive comments online since donning the outfit, sparking debate over what is acceptable attire in parliament, while raising questions over the prominence of misogyny in the country.

"Soon she'll come to work in a bikini," one online comment read, according to CNN.

"Is this a bar?" a supporter of President Moon Jae-in's left-wing Democratic Party wrote on Facebook.

Another questioned whether she was an escort, the South China Morning Post reported.

Ryu Ho-jeong's choice of attire drew criticism online. Source: Yonchap
Ryu Ho-jeong's choice of attire drew criticism online. Source: Yonchap

The Justice Party, which Ryu represents, released a statement regarding the widespread vitriol online, slamming those responsible.

"Some of the criticisms against her carry sexually discriminating prejudices (against women). We express strong regrets," the Justice Party said.

She was also supported by other politicians, with Rep. Ko Min-jung of the ruling Democratic Party praising Ryu for "shattering excessive rigorism and authoritarianism at the National Assembly."

South Korean politician Ryu Ho-jeong shown speaking in front of a microphone.
South Korean politician Ryu Ho-jeong, 28, has been criticised after wearing a red dress in Parliament. Source: Instagram/ ryuhojeong92

Ryu told Korean news agency Yonhap that the National Assembly was predominantly middle-aged men in suits and she wanted to challenge the status quo.

According to Yonhap just 19 per cent of the 300 assembly seats are held by women.

Ryu is a prominent advocate for gender equality and last month gave her support to activists who called for justice over the alleged harassment by recently deceased lawmaker, Park Won-soon.

"I hope you know that you are not alone,” she tweeted.

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.