Women in Diplomacy [fr]
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the MEAE invites you to discover the rising power of women in Europe and France.
It was not until the early 20th century that women first officially entered diplomacy. The first female Ambassador was Russian. This was Alexandra Kollontaï who was called to represent the Soviet Union in Norway in 1923.
In France, progress is made little by little. In 1914, the Department of Foreign Affairs only had a few female typists. In 1928, the entrance exam was open to women, but with two restrictions: women were not allowed to go abroad and all the branches of central administration were not open to them.
Suzanne Borel was the first female to pass the exam in 1930 and become a diplomat.
In the Seventies; women rose to the highest management positions : in 1972, Marcelle Campana is nominated as Ambassador to Panama, and in 1986, Isabella Renouard becomes the first female director in central administration.
After Marcella Campana’s nomination, the numbers of women in ambassador posts have increased slowly. There were three female ambassadors in 1982, sixteen in 2002 and today we count 49 (out of a total of 197 as of February 23, 2017).
Over the years, women have gained positions in French diplomacy. Today, they are in the forefront of representing France all over the world.