The Connection Between Gender and Power. There is a dominance of men in diplomacy and high-ranked positions.

The issue of gender and power is fundamental to the extent that women’s equal participation and leadership in political and public life is essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by 2030, notably, the SDG n.5. “Gender Equality”. 

However, data show that women are underrepresented at all levels of decision-making worldwide and that achieving gender parity in political life is far off.

This long-standing male dominance in the world of diplomacy is a trend that has persisted over many years, however, there have been positive developments in recent decades with a gradual increase in the representation of women in diplomatic roles, including at the ambassadorial level.


A study conducted by Ann Towns, an associate professor of political science at the University of Gothenburg, and her colleague Birgitta Niklasson in 2014 examined ambassador nominations made by the fifty wealthiest countries in the world. An investigation on gender patterns in diplomacy, specifically looking at whether men tended to dominate positions associated with power and prestige.

The study found that 85% of the world’s ambassadors were men, but this percentage varied significantly by region and country. For instance, Nordic countries had the highest proportion of female ambassadors at 35%, followed by North America at 25%. 

In contrast, Asia and the Middle East had much lower percentages, with only 10 and 6%, respectively, while South America, Africa, and Europe (excluding the Nordic countries) were close to the global average of 15%, but there were variations within these regions.

Briefly focusing on Africa, it should be stressed that regarding women in power positions and the corresponding investments for the empowerment of young girls in schools, the effort is remarkable. For more information and a deep analysis of the topic, please read our other article “Education Is One Of The Primary Echo Chambers For Women To Make Their Voice Heard”


The study also revealed a clear and consistent gender pattern regarding the status of ambassador positions. In host countries with the largest economies and military forces, there was a greater prevalence of male ambassadors, indicating that men typically occupied positions with higher status.

In other host countries, the gender distribution of ambassadors was more proportional. This pattern of gender and status in ambassador positions is consistent with broader gender patterns observed in various institutions and environments.

The most recent trends depicting women increasingly covering power positions worldwide are significant because they disrupt the gender pattern in diplomacy. 

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