In South Korea, her status as the country’s most successful female entrepreneur and one of its few female inventors makes her a sought-after speaker. That perch helped Haan raise awareness about her experiences applying for loans and grants in her native country and trying to sell to an all-male retail establishment. There are now more female evaluators for business-lending programs and more women buyers in the country’s retail sector. A South Korean professor and consumer advocate has gone so far as to say that since the introduction of the Western kitchen, Haan has done more to improve gender equity in Korea than any other person. But perhaps the thing Haan is happiest about: Thanks to her steam cleaners, now even husbands are scrubbing the floors.
Alison Overholthas written for Fortune, Fast Company and O: The Oprah Magazine.
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