Profile: South Korean President Park Geun-hye
Park Geun-hye is the first female leader of a country that has the highest level of gender inequality in the developed world.
Sworn in on 25 February, Ms Park took office amid severe tensions on the Korean peninsula, days after North Korea's third nuclear test.
In her inauguration speech, she promised to prioritise both national security and economic revitalisation.
To North Korea, she offered a step-by-step trust-building process, but vowed she would "not tolerate any action that threatens the lives of our people and the security of our nation".Father's shadow
Ms Park, 61, is no stranger to South Korea's presidential house. She is the daughter of former President Park Chung-hee, who ruled South Korea for almost two decades.
At the age of just 22, she was thrust into the political limelight, becoming South Korea's first lady when her mother was shot dead in 1974 - hit by a North Korean assassin's bullet that was intended for her husband.
For five years, Ms Park was charged with receiving the spouses of foreign heads of state at the Blue House, South Korea's presidential residence.
Her father, who seized power in a military coup in 1961, ruled until he was assassinated by his spy chief in 1979.
Some say the association with her father - and her experiences as first lady - helped her overcome some deeply held prejudices among male voters.
But while Mr Park was credited with boosting South Korea's economy, he was also accused of ruthlessly crushing dissent and delaying democratic development.
Amid debate over his legacy ahead of her presidential run, Ms Park in September 2012 issued a public apology for human rights abuses committed under her father.
However, she also described his 1961 coup as necessary, which alienated some younger voters who were wary of Ms Park's unwillingness to fully renounce her father.
Park Geun-hye, who holds an engineering degree from Sogang University in Seoul, was first elected to South Korea's National Assembly in 1998.
She sought the presidency in 2007, but her Saenuri, or New Frontier Party, instead nominated Lee Myung-bak, who went on to win.
She is not married - something that has exposed her to comment in South Korea's conservative society - and is seen as a private individual.
Many hope the elevation of the first woman to the presidency will help shatter the old patriarchal Confucian habits which permeate South Korean society, analysts say.
As part of her presidential campaign, Ms Park pledged to prioritise "national reconciliation", and improve "economic democracy" and social welfare.
She also promised greater engagement with North Korea than under her predecessor - a policy which could struggle for support in the wake of Pyongyang's third nuclear test.