South Korea elects first female president: Gender equality progress unlikely

South Korea has taken the historic step of electing its first woman president, but despite the landmark victory few expect the country will see a significant shift in gender roles given it's still dominated by a patriarchal structure.

Park Geun-hye -- the daughter of former president Park Chung-bee, South Korea's longest ruling dictator -- won with 52% of the vote to become the next president of South Korea, and has pledged to "take care of our people one-by-one".

"I will create a society in which no one is left behind and everyone can share the fruits of economic development," she said. "I believe that only this can bring unity, economic democratisation and happiness for people.

Although her country now holds the fourth-largest economy in Asia, she will head up a nation that is struggling with tense relations with North Korea, a significant gender pay gap and rising social issues including rampant unemployment and young education problems.

David Kang, professor of international relations and business at the University of South California, told CNN that although a pioneering win, this won't signify a significant leap in gender equality for South Korea. Kang attributed her win mostly to her political family line and conservative politics.

"That a woman could be elected in South Korea is historic and important. At the same time, what you basically have to do is be political royalty. So I think gender roles are changing in South Korea. It's a step forward, but let's also remember how unique she is as a person" Kang said.