From Wives Of Ambassadors To Peacemakers: The Rise Of Women In Diplomacy – OpEd


Diplomacy, the art of managing relations, through negotiation, was dominated by men for centuries, excluding women from the process, which meant that women’s gifts and perspectives were not included in this profession but this changed in the XIX century, in this phase, women began to be more participation in diplomacy and it continues so far.

Roles such as being the wife of an ambassador, are often held by women. The wives of ambassadors do play an important role as advisors to their spouses. The females often act as a bridge with women often playing an important ss role in various diplomatic efforts. The females often integrate themselves into the language and culture of their host country and often develop close relationships with people of the country and those relationships often foster better relations between their home country and the country where their husbands are working. In this respect, the female may become unofficial deputy ambassadors themselves.

The duties of ambassador’s wives vary considerably according to the women themselves. At a time of conflict, the Ambassador’s wives will be expected to inform their husbands of emergency incidents occurring within their area, within 24 hours. They are expected to undertake transportation and embarkation duties; hence they will set out from, bringing back sick, injured, or distraught persons from the war zone and aiding in the repatriation of refugees. In addition to the above duties, a wife is looked upon as a hostess and supervisor to the staff of the foreign service in her country.  She is ‘expected’ to back up her husband’s activities on many occasions. 

This sharp rise in the number of diplomats during this century is due in part to widespread acknowledgment of the limits of conventional diplomacy. Diplomacy now includes conflict resolution skills that most people can see are essential in both times of war and peace. Diplomacy involving communication and related interaction is an art that has become very important in a situation where physical tightness is no longer fashionable. Women tend to have a particular way of approaching conflicts which is inclusive and thus the solutions that come out of negotiations and conflict resolutions are more sustainable, which takes diplomacy to another level in practicability. Diplomacy is employed to address modern life-burning issues such, as human trafficking, girls’ education rights, and gender equality and the list is endless. Diplomatically who keeps the oil tap is more important than who has the highest number of missiles.

Female diplomats add perspective and shape efforts to resolve key issues. Female diplomats also have a responsibility as negotiators and peacemakers as they mediate conflict between countries to reduce violence and find a peaceful resolution. Female diplomats also collaborate and give humanitarian aid to countries and societies that are less fortunate. They do this through diplomacy and cultural exchange as they promote contact between countries and societies moreover to improve relations. Female diplomats advocate for their rights as women and work toward a gender-equal world that removes the barriers that women experience every day. While some progress has been made, research has shown that women remain underrepresented in diplomacy, and career advancement is obstructed by biases that make it difficult to juggle work demands and family responsibilities. There is a need to involve women as partners, with a significant contribution to the diplomatic workforce.

To impact this issue we can do things like have quotas to fill certain spots in diplomat positions and have mentors to help women in the field of becoming diplomats. It’s important to realize that this effort isn’t just for fairness but because studies show that the more women that are involved the more likely it is that the negotiation produces a lasting outcome. 

In conclusion, women are now integral participants in diplomacy, alongside men. They contribute fresh ideas address and new challenges that have the power to shape our world. The presence of women in diplomacy signifies a shift in the way we view international relations. Let us strive for in equality all aspects of diplomacy fostering an inclusive outlook for the future.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own.

Reference List

  1. Niklasson, B. (2023). Gender and Diplomacy. In Oxford Bibliographies. Retrieved from
  2. McGlen, N. E., & Sarkees, M. R. (2001). Foreign Policy Decision Makers: The Impact of Gender. In S. J. Carroll (Ed.), The Impact of Women in Public Office (pp. 117–148). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  3. Mori, J. (2015). How Women Make Diplomacy: The British Embassy in Paris, 1815–1841. Journal of Women’s History, 27(4), 137–159. doi: 10.1353/jowh.2015.0042
  4. Mosedale, S. (2005). Assessing Women’s Empowerment: Towards a Conceptual Framework. Journal of International Development, 17(2), 243–257. doi: 10.1002/jid.1212
  5. Müller, U., & Scheidemann, C. (2000). Gewandt, Geschickt und Abgesandt: Frauen im Diplomatischen Dienst. München: Olzog.
  6. Hickman, K. (1999). Daughters of Britannia: The Lives and Times of Diplomatic Wives. New York City, NY: HarperCollins.

Simon Hutagalung

Simon Hutagalung is a retired diplomat from the Indonesian Foreign Ministry and received his master's degree in political science and comparative politics from the City University of New York. The opinions expressed in his articles are his own.

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