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  • Writer's pictureVOB

More and more women in Belgian diplomacy

June 24 is International Women in Diplomacy Day. Established by the UN, this day recalls the importance of women's participation in political processes. In Belgium, the number of women working in diplomacy is thus increasing.

Photo: Wix

Research shows that when women serve in governments and parliaments, they enact laws and policies that are more favorable to ordinary citizens, the environment and social cohesion. Yet, of the 193 Member States of the United Nations, only 34 women are elected heads of state or government. While progress has been made in many countries, the overall proportion of women at other levels of political office worldwide is still low: 21% of ministers globally, 26% of national parliamentarians and 34% of seats elected to local governments. At the current rate of progress, equal representation in parliaments will not be achieved until 2062.

The MR does not have to be ashamed of its record in this area. Our party has more elected than elected members in the Walloon Parliament and has achieved parity in the Brussels Parliament. The MR also holds the record for women mayors (23) and is the party that has in its ranks the first female Prime Minister in the history of our country (Sophie Wilmès).

Historically, diplomacy has been the prerogative of men. The contribution of women has often been overlooked. It is however essential to encourage gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. The UN has therefore set up this international day to stimulate education and public awareness in this area.

For Belgium, 19 women are now heads of post (17%). It was 13% in 2021 then 15% in 2022. This number is therefore increasing. As part of the 2023 diplomatic movement, 7 female diplomats become heads of posts for the first time. On the other hand, the promotion of interns this year slightly exceeds parity: all linguistic roles combined, 26 women and 25 men should start their internship this summer. Let us remember of course that the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs is a liberal woman: Hadja Lahbib.


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