Staff profile

Dr Sung-Hee Lee

Programme Lead for MRes Social Sciences and Humanities

Sung-Hee Lee


Social Sciences


College of Business, Law and Social Sciences

Research centre

Better Society, Social, Cultural and Legal Research Centre




One Friar Gate Square, Derby Campus



I am a Programme Lead for MRes Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Derby. I am also a Principal Investigator of the ESRC-funded UK-South Korea Family Policy Research Networking Project.

Teaching responsibilities

Teaching modules

Research interests

My research focuses on social policy in East Asia, specifically, gender analysis regarding childcare policy development and its effect on working women’s care conditions in South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. I am keen to influence and subsequently change working women’s life experiences, particularly where there are enduring and pervasive cultural gender ideologies, discriminatory assumptions and social injustices, not only in the practice of informal care but also in the workplace. I grew up in a Confucian-oriented family that has a clear gender ideology determining who is deemed to be: ‘a good daughter’, ‘a good wife’ and ‘a good mother’.

Consequently, I have been drawn to understanding the ways in which the element of gender intersects with social class and working cultures and have applied her academic rigour to these problems. Currently, many countries are faced with further complexities brought about by race and ethnicity, owing to the growing numbers of migrant workers entering the care labour market. My research aims to show how the intersectionality of gender ideologies can be challenged by bringing gender forward for consideration in the political arena to impact women’s experiences in care work, for the better.

My international research profile is reflected in my excellent publishing record to date. I have brought my international recognition, with invitations from governmental research institutes and universities in South Korea, and Japan as well as from within the UK. For example, I presented my research at the Korea Women’s Development Institute (KWDI) in Seoul where governmental researchers and key experts in the field of childcare policy in South Korea were in attendance.

I was subsequently invited to work on a governmental research project submitted to ‘The Presidential Committee on Ageing Society’ under President Moon Jae-in, in May 2019. Additionally, I have produced two more collaborative governmental research projects working with the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (2020) and the City of Seoul (2017).

Membership of professional bodies


Recent conferences


Experience in industry

International experience

Research Grants:

I am currently holding two Research Grants as a Principal Investigator;

  • ESRC UKRI Research Grant (Ref: ES/W010712/1) aims to establish and develop a sustainable collaboration of researchers focusing on social policy toward families in the UK and South Korea
  • Academy of Korean Studies Grant (Ref: AKS-2021-R018) aims to investigate the recent childcare policy reform in South Korea (universal free childcare, called ‘Moo-sang Boyuck’ in Korean) and to assess the impact on socializing childcare among working mothers in South Korea

Additional interests and activities

Referee for Journals 

Committee and/or Editorial Board Membership

External Examiner

In the media

Recent publications

Peer-reviewed publications:

Book sections:

Policy Briefing and/or Issue Analysis