North Korea lauds its first female boxing referee

North Korea's first female boxing referee attracted media attention Wednesday for impressing spectators while adroitly refereeing recent bouts dressed in a uniform "suitable to her slim figure."

Kim Won Hui, a 31-year-old former volleyball player, became the North's first female boxing referee in 2003 after completing an "eight-year course of boxing, refereeing and foreign language" at Korean University of Physical Education, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said.

"She, wearing referee's a uniform suitable to her slim figure, judged the matches strictly and skillfully" during recent North Korean boxing championships, KCNA said of Kim.

North Korea, influenced by traditional Korean Confucianism, is a totally male-dominated society. Nearly all high-level government posts are believed to be held by men, reports AP.

But the country has some female sports stars, including judo athlete Kye Sun Hui, who became a heroine after winning gold at the 1996 Olympics, and Ham Pong Sil, who won the women's marathon at the 2002 Asian Games.

It was unclear when Kim first refereed a boxing match. But she "enriched her experience" during the Pyongyang International Invitation Boxing Tournament held in 2005, KCNA said.