1. Queen Seondeok
Although South Korea has been ruled by men for the majority of its history, a number of significant women reigned during the Silla period and the most notable of them all was Queen Seondeok. She ruled from 632-647 and was the second recorded female sovereign in East Asian history. She is remembered for encouraging thought, literature, and the arts in Silla. A few of her most notable contributions were the Cheomseongdae observatory, which is the oldest observatory in Asia, and the Hwangnyong pagoda, which is known to be the tallest wooden structure in the world at the time of its construction!
2. Yoon Mi Rae
Yoon Mi Rae may be a well-known rapper but that’s not all she should be known for. Yoon Mi Rae and her husband TigerJK are huge advocates against child abuse. In 2011, the couple appeared in a photoshoot with their son for the “Stop Child Abuse & Love Children” campaign. At this time they also filmed a public service announcement for the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse. But Yoon Mi Rae has also promoted awareness of multiculturalism in Korean families and spent seven months volunteering in a multicultural youth camp in 2008.
3. Lee Hyori
Singer, actress, record producer, television presenter, business owner, and activist. What doesn’t Hyori do? Since her days in Fin.K.L, Hyori has been an ever-rising star that isn’t afraid to tell the world her thoughts. In 2012, she published a book that took a look at some of the most important things in her life like her pets and all proceeds from the book were actually donated to PETA.
4. Girls’ Generation
Girls’ Generation should definitely be mentioned because they inspired so many of the other female artists we have today! Since the very beginning of their careers, the girls have been proving they are here to stay and this has inspired many of the newer generation female idols. Not only that but the group’s debut song has become an anthem for all sorts of causes over the years.
5. Kim Yuna
The ice queen we all love, Kim Yuna is the first figure skater to achieve a career super grand slam under the ISU judging system, the first and only ladies’ singles skater to win gold in all major ISU championships, and the first female skater to break a number of point marks in Winter Olympics. On top of that, Yuna is known for her sweet personality and is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
6. Lee Tai Young
In 1946, Lee Tai Young was the first woman ever to enter Seoul National University and that’s just the first of her achievements. Eventually, she would become the country’s first female lawyer and after passing the Korean National Judicial Exam she also became South Korea’s first female judge. Lee Tai Young also opened the first legal aid center and helped to modify some laws that helped improve the rights of other women.
7. Yi So Yeon
In 2008, Yi So Yeon became South Korea’s first astronaut. That’s right the very first South Korean astronaut to fly in space! On top of that, she also became the first astronaut to attend the International Space University Space Studies Program!