International Day for Women in Diplomacy Date in the current year: June 24, 2024

International Day for Women in Diplomacy The International Day for Women in Diplomacy is a United Nations observance held annually on June 24. It was created to highlight the contributions of women to diplomacy, which have historically been overlooked.

Women and girls represent half of the world’s population, yet the global proportion of women in political office leaves much to be desired. As of 2022, about one fifth of the world’s ministers and a little over a quarter of national parliamentarians were women. The same goes for women in diplomacy: the global share of women ambassadors was approximately 22% in 2022 (although this can be considered a progress compared to 16% in 2018).

Historically, diplomacy has been a field dominated by men despite the fact that women have played a prominent role in diplomatic efforts for centuries. Throughout human history, women have participated in peace negotiations, strengthened international relations, and facilitated cultural exchange, but rarely have they received the recognition they deserve.

Although diplomacy benefits immensely from the contributions of women, they are often downplayed. For example, the leading role of Eleanor Roosevelt as the head of the Drafting Committee of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been well-documented, but the contribution of women from the UN Commission on the Status of Women to the Declaration is often overlooked.

Regardless of how hard women work to climb the diplomatic ranks, they are outnumbered by men and often excluded from the decision-making process. Despite their contributions to diplomacy, the professional advancement of women is hindered by sexism that took root centuries ago, which results in severe underrepresenation of women in senior diplomatic positions. Even today, the idea of women in leadership roles is highly unpopular among diplomats in many countries.

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed June 24 the International Day for Women in Diplomacy by its resolution adopted on June 20, 2022. The main goals of the observance are to recognize the contribution that women make to diplomacy, address female underrepresentation in diplomacy (especially in senior positions and fields like national defense and arms control), and encourage UN member states and other stakeholders to implement policies to advance gender parity in the field.

The International Day for Women in Diplomacy is the day for all relevant parties to reflect on the unique challenges that women diplomats face on a daily basis and work together to find and implement ways to tackle these challenges and ensure the full, equal, meaningful and effective participation of women in diplomacy.

An example of an initiative aimed at increasing the participation of women in diplomacy and supporting women diplomats is the launch of the Women Diplomats Network (WEDIN EU) by the European External Action Service (EEAS) in November 2022. It gives women diplomats from the EEAS and EU member states a platform to discuss the role of women in diplomacy, exchange best practices, and make their contribution to the promotion of gender equality on a global scale.

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