Gender and Diplomacy: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Gender and Diplomacy

1st Edition

Edited by Jennifer A. Cassidy


220 pages

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This volume provides a detailed discussion of the role of women in diplomacy and a global narrative of their current and historical role within it.

The last century has seen the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs) experience seismic shifts in their policies concerning the entry, role and agency of women within their institutional make-up. Despite these changes, and the promise that true gender equality offers to the diplomatic craft, the role of women in the diplomatic sphere continues to remain overlooked, and placed on the fringes of diplomatic scholarship. This volume brings together established scholars and experienced diplomatic practitioners in an attempt to unveil the story of women in diplomacy, in a context which is historical, theoretical and empirical. In line with feminist critical thought, the objective of this volume is to theorize and empirically demonstrate the understanding of diplomacy as a gendered practice and study. The aims of are three-fold: 1) expose and confront the gender of diplomacy; 2) shed light on the historical involvement of women in diplomatic practice in spite of systemic barriers and restrictions, with a focus on critical junctures of diplomatic institutional formation and the diplomatic entitlements which were created for women at these junctures; 3) examine the current state of women in diplomacy and evaluate the rate of progress towards a gender-even playing field on the basis thereof.

This book will be of much interest to students of diplomacy studies, gender studies, foreign policy and international relations.


'Drawing on the substantial expertise and experience of the authors, this volume of essays provides a rigorous analysis of the gendered nature of diplomacy. The common themes that emerge in the essays, coupled with the concrete recommendations put forward by the authors, offer fertile ground from which academics and policy makers can analyse and improve women’s empowerment in the field of diplomacy.' -- From the foreword by Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland

'This engaging volume discusses how women are changing the content of foreign policy, the practice of diplomacy and the nature of international leadership. In addition to providing valuable research material, this book should be an inspiration both for women hammering at glass ceilings and for foreign ministries and multilateral institutions grappling with the barriers to gender equality.' -- Kate Jones, University of Oxford, UK

'This is a superb series of studies on gender and diplomacy. In its treatment of its subject it raises important questions about what constitutes effective diplomacy in this challenging age. At a time when our profession matters more than ever, it is an important and thought-provoking reading for practitioners and students of international affairs alike.' -- Niall Burgess, Secretary General, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

'Gender and Diplomacy offers a fascinating and long overdue analysis of the role of gender in diplomacy. Combining scholarly inquiry and practitioner insight, the book sets new standards for understanding the historical and institutional challenges of ensuring a gender-even playing field in diplomacy.' -- Corneliu Bjola, University of Oxford, UK

Table of Contents

Foreword, Mary Robinson

Introduction: Analyzing the dynamics of modern diplomacy through a gender lens, Jennifer Cassidy and Sara Althari

Part I: Getting to the Table: Historical Challenges and Reflections

1. Woman, gender and diplomacy: a historical survey, Helen McCarthy and James Southern

2. Alison Palmer’s fight for sex and gender equity in the 20th century United States Foreign Service, Beatrice McKenzie

3. From marriage bar to gender equality: the experience of women in Ireland’s Department of foreign affairs 1970-2000, Anne Barrington

4. Women of the South: engaging with the UN as a diplomatic manoeuvre, Devaki Jain

PART II: At The Table: Broken Boundaries and Persisting Institutional Challenges

5. Towards a Feminist U.S. foreign policy? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s diplomacy from ‘soft power’ to ‘hard choices’, Eric Blanchard

6. Gender, Status and Ambassador Appointments to Militarized and Violent Countries, Birgitta Niklasson and Ann Towns

7. Women In Foreign Lands: Women Diplomats And Host Country Cultures, Jane Marriott

8. Women in Global Economic Governance: Scaling the summits, Susan Rimmer

9.Becoming UN Women: A Journey in Realizing Rights and Gaining Global Recognition, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

10. UNprecedented: Women’s Leadership in Twenty-First Century Multilateral Diplomacy, Jessica Fliegel

Conclusion: progress and policies towards a gender-even playing field,

About the Author/Editor

Jennifer Cassidy is a Doctoral Candidate in International Development at the University of Oxford, UK

About the Series

Routledge New Diplomacy Studies

This new series publishes theoretically challenging and empirically authoritative studies of the traditions, functions, paradigms and institutions of modern diplomacy. Taking a comparative approach, the New Diplomacy Studies series aims to advance research on international diplomacy, publishing innovative accounts of how “old” and 'new' diplomats help steer international conduct between anarchy and hegemony, handle demands for international stability vs. international justice, facilitate transitions between international orders, and address global governance challenges. Dedicated to the exchange of different scholarly perspectives, the series aims to be a forum for inter-paradigm and inter-disciplinary debates, and an opportunity for dialogue between scholars and practitioners.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Military / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Intergovernmental Organizations
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies