Message from Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, marking the ‘International Day of Women in Diplomacy’

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Message from Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, marking the ‘International Day of Women in Diplomacy’

 

 

 

 

Excellencies,
Distinguished participants,

The importance of June 24 as the ‘International Day of Women in Diplomacy’ is self-evident. Proclaimed as a result of the UN General Assembly resolution of 20 June 2022, this Day signifies global recognition of, and deep admiration for, the accomplishments of women in the realm of diplomacy.

As someone who has had the great honour of being the first woman Foreign Minister of Pakistan, this Day holds special meaning and significance for me personally. On the one hand, it serves as an occasion for gratification; on the other, it fortifies the resolve to continue to do more.

Adopted with unanimous support of UN member states, the General Assembly resolution underscores a historical milestone in promoting gender equality and empowering women in diplomacy. This is a Day for nations to proudly showcase their achievements in recruiting and appointing a higher number of women into their diplomatic corps than ever before.

Undoubtedly, such commendation is richly deserved as we witness tangible progress being made. The worldwide representation of women ambassadors has been steadily increasing, with the percentage of female heads of missions rising from 16% in 2018 to approximately 22% in 2022. Countries like Canada and Sweden have already achieved gender equality in their top diplomatic positions, while some others are on the cusp of doing so.

Pakistan has made notable strides in increasing the representation of women in key leadership positions, despite facing various socio-economic challenges. We take pride in highlighting the achievements of our remarkable women who have shattered barriers and risen to prominent roles in our society.

We have witnessed the election of a female Prime Minister, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, illustrating the resilience and capabilities of women in the highest echelons of power. Additionally, we celebrate the accomplishments of the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, highlighting the exceptional resolve and determination of our young women.

Pakistan’s progress in the growing role of women in diplomacy and their placement in decision-making positons is significant. We have had a woman Foreign Secretary, several women Spokespersons including the present incumbent, increasing number of Ambassadors and High Commissioners, and growing number of women serving at every wrung of the ladder in the Foreign Office.

As we commemorate this Day, it is equally crucial to pause and reflect upon the significant challenges that still lie ahead. While progress is evident, some obstacles demand our attention and concerted efforts.

Gender equality remains a paramount goal to be pursued vigorously. We must address systemic barriers that hinder the representation and advancement of women in diplomacy. Equal access to leadership roles and decision-making positions must be ensured, as it is essential for achieving true inclusivity and diversity in this field. Indeed, it is indispensable for fostering sustainable peace and prosperity.

Therefore, as we mark this International Day of Women in Diplomacy, let us commend women’s invaluable contributions and reaffirm our commitment to further advancing their meaningful and effective participation in diplomacy and their leadership role.

Together, we can build a future where women have equal opportunities, their voices are heard, and their expertise is fully utilized across the whole spectrum–including in peace-making, peace-building, and realizing the SDGs.

Lastly, I extend my sincere appreciation to the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) for the initiative to commemorate this Day and to recognize and appreciate the invaluable contributions of women who are driving the field of diplomacy to unprecedented levels.

Thank you.