Director, Women’s Bureau
U.S. Department of Labor
On May 11, 2001,
Shinae Chun was confirmed by the Senate as the 15th Director of
the Women's Bureau. Under the direction of Secretary of Labor
Elaine L. Chao, Ms. Chun is the highest ranking Korean American
in the Bush administration, and heads the only Federal agency
charged with advocating on behalf of women in the workforce. The
Women's Bureau was created by Congress in 1920 with a mandate to
"promote the welfare of wage-earning women."
Prior to joining
the Labor Department, Ms. Chun served as the Managing Director of
the ITR Corporation of Chicago, Illinois. From 1991 to 1999, Ms.
Chun was the Director of the Illinois Department of Labor,
responsible for managing operations of the Department whose
mission is to protect the rights, wages, and working conditions
of Illinois workers through the enforcement of state labor laws.
She made Illinois history two years earlier when she accepted the
position of Director of the Illinois Department of Financial
Institutions, becoming the first ever Asian American cabinet
member. While there, she investigated, licensed and regulated
over 2500 financial institutions in Illinois.
In 1982, Ms. Chun
was one of the founding members of the Asian American Advisory
Council to Governor James R. Thompson. Later in 1984, she was
appointed as Special Assistant to the Governor on Asian American
Affairs, the first such position in the country. Serving as a
liaison between state government and Asian American communities,
her primary responsibility was to bring concerns and issues of
Asian Americans to the governor and ensure that state policy and
programs reflected the needs of Asian Americans.
Prior to her
involvement in state government, she was project director of the
Title IX Multiethnic Training, Assistance and Dissemination
Project (METAD), a teacher in-service training program developed
to heighten sensitivity of public school teachers to cultural
diversity in the classroom; and ease cross-cultural conflict by
better preparing teachers for assimilation of Asian immigrant and
refugee students into mainstream society.
awards include "Outstanding Alumni Award" from Ewha Women's
University in Seoul, "Outstanding Statesman Award" from Chicago
Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, and Midwest Women's Center "A
Tribute to Chicago Women Award." From 1987-1991, she served as a
board member for United Way. She is also author of From the
Mountains of Masan to the Land of Lincoln (1996), and Korean
Culture - A Passage Through Hermit Kingdom (1980).
Ms. Chun received
her undergraduate degree at Ewha Women's University in Seoul,
Korea, and her Master's degree in Education and Social Policy at
Northwestern University. In 1992, she also received a fellowship
to the Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government,
Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. Ms.
Chun and her husband, Dr. Kyong Chul Chun, have two sons.