Abu Dhabi: The Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy (AGDA) on Tuesday launched its latest Women in Diplomacy Index for 2021 to mark International Women’s Day.
Following the launch, the academy also hosted a panel discussion on the topic of gender equality in foreign policy and the diplomatic corps.
First published in 2018, the Women in Diplomacy Index seeks to track the percentage share of women ambassadors in the 40 largest economies in the world, including the European Union. The expanded 2021 edition includes more states and aims to track the progress made by countries in appointing women as the heads of their overseas missions.
The 2021 index shows that out of 4,060 ambassadors currently appointed, only 842 are female. This indicates that the total share of women ambassadors stands at 20.7 per cent for 2021.
Sweden had the highest percentage of women appointed as overseas ambassadors with 48.1 per cent, with Canada coming a close second with 46.3 per cent. Norway had a 44.0 per cent share in third place, followed by Australia with 40.2 per cent in forth, and South Africa coming in fifth with 39.1 per cent.
The Women in Diplomacy Index 2021 also underscores the efforts that the UAE has made to advance female participation in diplomacy. Nearly half of the employees of the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC) are women. This includes women ambassadors in major embassies including the UN missions in New York, the Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, and Denmark.
The launch of the index was followed by a panel discussion titled ‘Women in Diplomacy: What Next?’. This discussion explored gender equality within foreign policy and the diplomatic corps. The panel included esteemed ambassadors including Francisca E. Méndez Escobar, Ambassador of Mexico to the UAE, Marcy Grossman, Ambassador of Canada to the UAE, Clara Cabrera, Spanish Ambassador-at-Large for Gender Equality in Foreign Policy, and Elisabeth Cardoso, Ambassador of Luxembourg to the UAE.
The panellists shared their relevant experiences and perspectives on overcoming barriers based on gender within the diplomatic profession.
In his opening remarks, Bernardino León, Director General of AGDA, said: “We are honoured to have with us today a group of truly inspiring diplomats who, in their own unique ways, have broken new ground across the field of diplomacy. They are a source of optimism and pride for the countries they represent. And importantly, they are also role models for young women and girls everywhere.”
Speaking about the launch of the index, Dr Mariam Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Deputy Director General of AGDA, said: “The Women in Diplomacy Index is a useful resource to track women’s participation in foreign affairs and diplomacy. We are proud to launch our 2021 edition which is the most comprehensive to date. This edition was compiled by a team consisting of both AGDA faculty members as well as AGDA students. As an Emirati woman, I am also delighted to see the UAE making significant strides to advance women empowerment within its diplomatic services.”
As the UAE’s leading international relations and diplomatic institution, AGDA is a strong advocate of gender parity within the field of diplomacy. In the 2019-2020 academic year, 65 per cent of the AGDA’s graduates were women.