Dr Nawal Al Hosani Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Women continue to be underrepresented in the field of diplomacy, according to a major study carried out by the Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA).

It showed that women fill only 16.7 per cent of ambassadorial positions for G20 countries.

The extensive research report — Gender and Diplomacy Diplograph — was presented publicly for the first time during the Abu Dhabi Diplomacy Conference, as the study aims to highlight the need to do more when it comes to hiring women for diplomatic missions around the world.

“This research by the academy maps the percentage of women ambassadors representing the countries of the G20 in 2018. We have found that out of the 2,607 ambassadors currently appointed by G20 countries, only 435 are women. This means the total share of women ambassadors in the G20 stands at 16.7 per cent,” said Dr Nawal Al Hosani, UAE Permanent Representative to the International Renewable Energy Agency and deputy director general at EDA.

“The findings demonstrate that while women diplomats have made strides, the diplomatic field clearly is still dominated by men. In fact, several countries have few or no women serving as ambassadors,” she added.

“Australia leads the G20 countries, with women holding 35.9 per cent of ambassadorial posts followed by Canada at 35.6 per cent and United States at 33.1 per cent. In addition, Canada is targeting a 50:50 ratio of women and men in the foreign service,” Al Hosani said, highlighting the study’s findings.

Commenting on the UAE, Dr Al Hosani said the numbers were positive with the country continuing to make improvements in its female representation in the diplomatic corps. “The UAE has seven women ambassadors serving in key posts around the world and international organisations. Women made up 38.1 per cent of the workforce at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in 2017.

“I am very proud to say that in the same year women accounted for 61 per cent of the cohort of graduates here at EDA. It should therefore come as no surprise that the issue of gender equality in diplomacy is being put under the spotlight here at the Abu Dhabi Diplomacy Conference,” she added.

Dr Al Hosani said the EDA’s gender study would become an annual report and extend to other countries around the world. “Future editions will expand globally, so we can monitor progress and give ministries of foreign affairs a way to benchmark themselves against their peers. By publishing this data, we seek to encourage ministries to share best practices on how to achieve growth in the number of female ambassadors.”