Abdulla Shahid, the President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, expressed his privilege and joy in presiding over the adoption of a resolution establishing the 24 June as “International Day of Women in Diplomacy” on June 20, 2022.
During a dialogue held in February 2022, women experts from various committees emphasized the need to acknowledge the crucial role of women in diplomacy, leading to the establishment of this special day as a part of 2030 SDGs goals.
The UNGA invited all Member States, United Nations organizations, non-governmental groups, academic institutions, and associations of women diplomats to observe this day in the most appropriate manner for each entity, including through education and raising public awareness.
In 2023 The Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) organized the International Day of Women in Diplomacy (IDWID) inaugural forum with the theme “Breaking Barriers, Shaping the Future: Women in Diplomacy for Sustainable Development.”
This theme highlights the need to increase women’s involvement in decision-making and diplomatic positions. Diana Abgar, an Armenian ambassador, is recognized as the first female diplomat of the 20th century.
Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, celebrates and acknowledges the crucial role and leadership skills of women in diplomacy in his message.
As of January 2023, 34 women are serving as Heads of State and/or Government in 31 countries. In 2021, out of the five United Nations-led or co-led peace processes, two were led by women mediators, and all five processes involved consultation with civil society and benefited from gender expertise.
Notable women like former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Arden who became the global symbol of leadership, former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher have all made significant contributions in representing their countries on the global stage.
Additionally, in 2022, the Security Council held its first-ever formal meeting focusing on addressing reprisals against women participating in peace and security processes. Despite these positive developments, significant gender disparities persist in multilateral disarmament forums, particularly in women’s participation and representation in weapons-related fields such as technical arms control.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) endorsed the full and equal participation of women at all levels of decision-making for global peace and equality.
Globally, only 12 percent of Ministers of Defense are women. Interestingly, countries with greater representation of women in legislative and executive branches of government tend to allocate less spending to defense and prioritize social spending instead.
Throughout history, diplomacy has been predominantly male-dominated, often overlooking the significant contributions of women. However, it is crucial to acknowledge and celebrate the ways in which women are breaking barriers and making a positive impact in the field of diplomacy.
While 143 countries have guaranteed gender equality in their constitutions as of 2014, there are still 52 countries that have yet to make this important commitment. It is essential to advocate for increased representation of women in key decision-making roles, as this will greatly influence and implement multilateral agendas.
Between 1992 and 2019, women only represented 13 percent of negotiators, 6 percent of mediators, and 6 percent of signatories in global peace processes.
UN Women tweeted that women’s role in diplomacy is key to building bridges, fostering understanding, and creating a more inclusive and peaceful world.
Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls will significantly contribute to progress across all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets. Incorporating a gender perspective into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is crucial, particularly as SDG 5 emphasizes women’s equal participation in decision-making.
Pakistan’s permanent mission to the UN acknowledged the role of women diplomats by arranging a virtual event.
Pakistan takes great pride in the remarkable contributions and achievements of its women in the field of diplomacy. Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, acknowledges the significant strides made by Pakistani women, who have emerged as influential figures, leading the way towards a more inclusive and equitable world.
Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, also recognized the efforts of women diplomats in his message.
From being the first woman Prime Minister to producing a young Nobel Prize laureate, Pakistan has shattered glass ceilings and paved the way for women to excel in diplomatic endeavors. Minister Khar emphasizes that these accomplishments not only highlight the talent and potential of Pakistani women but also showcase the country’s commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Also Read: Celebrating Pakistan’s Women in Diplomacy
As the first woman Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Minister Khar understands the importance of recognizing the contributions of women in diplomacy. Their perspectives, skills, and experiences bring unique insights to the table, contributing to the effectiveness of Pakistan’s international relations.