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South Korea has its first main female anchor

Under gleamingly bright studio lights, Lee So-jeong reads straight from a teleprompter, rehearsing her lines ahead of the primetime newscast for South Korea’s national public broadcaster, KBS.

Five times a week, she is beamed into living rooms across the country leading its “News 9” bulletin, after she broke into a decades-old boys’ club in a society that is technologically and economically advanced, but still culturally male-dominated.

South Korean television news broadcasts have long followed the same format: a serious-looking older male anchor announcing the day’s major developments, with a much younger female sidekick delivering lighter items later in the line-up.

Some of those women juniors went on to marry into the billionaire families who own South Korea’s chaebol conglomerates, rather than continue their careers.

Lee’s appointment at state-funded KBS — the Korean Broadcasting System — upended that model. At 43, she even has a younger male sidekick of her own.