22nd March 2016

Until 1946, women were excluded from the British diplomatic service on the grounds that they would not be taken seriously by foreign governments and would create insurmountable administrative difficulties, particularly in relation to their marital status.

At present day women taking leadership roles in diplomacy still remains an unpopular concept among diplomats in many parts of the world, but countries are increasingly inclined to adhere to the trends of modern diplomacy in which men and women are represented equally based on merit and standing.

The state of international affairs should reflect an entire society rather than limiting it to men’s status and views. Last year, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström announced that her government would pursue a “feminist foreign policy,” which has received a fair share of skepticism comparable to men’s dismissals of suffragettes campaigning for the right to vote in Great Britain a century ago. 

The 21st century is the century for the social, political, and economic empowerment of women around the world, and this will be manifested in diplomacy. The exclusion of the views and perspectives of women in foreign policy will gradually become more unacceptable, and the movement started by Foreign Minister Wallström will spread across the globe in this century due to its morality and pragmatism.

The inclusion of women at all levels in international relations will spread as its far-reaching, efficient, and representative of our modern societies. In this way, we will be highly equipped to serve national interests of security and prosperity – the essence of foreign policy objectives. Post conflict reconstruction is one of the many areas that will benefit from this inclusion, allowing world leaders to address current failings in transitions from conflict to stability. These include the lack of involvement of victims (mostly women) and the lack of trust caused by the absence of women



  • Martin Iversen Christensen, Author to the Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership
  • Vibeke Brask Thomsen, Founding Director, Gender Hopes
  • Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam, Member of the Committee of Foreign Affairs at the French Senate and Vice Chair of the Committee for Women's Rights and Equality
  • Ulrika Funered, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Sweden in London
  • Alexandra Wandel, Director and Vice-Chair, Management Board, World Future Council
  • Yasmin Qureshi MP,  Member of Foreign Affairs Select Committee, House of Commons
  • Maryam Namazee, Journalist Broadcaster, Al-Jazeera English
  • Dr Karin von Hippel, Director, Royal United Services Institute


  •  Outlook on the role of women represented in international affairs
  • Women in international affairs and the setting of the global agenda
  • Challenges to female leadership roles in international affairs
  • How women leadership can change the state international affairs?
  • How current female leaders can mobilize the participation of more women in the field
  • How international affairs stakeholders can reach out to women representation from the grass root level?