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POST TIME: 9 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Female envoys and diplomats shine

Female envoys and diplomats shine

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, we salute all women diplomats who have contributed to a progressing Bangladesh to the world. Reportedly, at this moment, seven accomplished career diplomats are serving as ambassadors abroad with one new appointment coming up soon. The number, highest in the country’s history of female envoys, will stand at eight soon. For Bangladesh, this is unquestionably a reflection of how far women have come in society, breaking the stereotyped concept of the decade after independence when most women’s life after education was confined to their homes.

The journey of women in the diplomatic service began in 1979 and today, there are about 50-60 women actively involved in the diplomatic service. For a country which now openly vocalizes a desire to become middle income within three to four years, women’s emancipation plus engagement at all levels is essential.

One female ambassador has rightly said that women will come to the diplomatic service of their own merit and no added incentive or privilege is necessary. This statement speaks volumes about the confidence of the modern-day lady professional who is aware of her capabilities and unafraid to showcase her skills and ambition.

Bangladesh has had two female prime ministers and that should act as a beacon of inspiration for women wanting to go to the top of a profession. We have 58 missions on foreign soil with almost 30 per cent of ambassadorial positions awarded on contract by the government to illustrious people from outside the foreign-service. In order to raise the number of women envoys, the authority can also look at top civil society people, academics, international civil servants and prominent women entrepreneurs.

In a world where trade is fast becoming the most important aspect of international relations, women from business backgrounds should be considered for ambassadorial posts in countries with which Bangladesh is keen to build commercial ties. On one hand, this will ensure female roles at top positions while on the other, talented businesswomen can play constructive roles in the country’s trade aspirations.

In addition, economic attaches can also be picked from rising women business personalities with education counsellors chosen from the academic cadre.

All serving women envoys have stated unequivocally that they never face any institutional discrimination which is again a proof that gender stereotyping is minimum at the foreign-service. Hopefully, more women will join the foreign-service to dedicate their lives and skills to present a forward marching Bangladesh led by empowered women.