The representation of women in the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs is comparable to that of their male colleagues. However, inequalities and male dominance persist in senior positions and ambassadorial posts. How can we achieve greater representation of women in senior diplomatic positions and ensure transparency in the selection procedures for these posts? What challenges do women diplomats encounter and what measures is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs considering to address them?
Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavský answered these questions and more at a meeting of the Network of Women in Czech Foreign, European and Security Policy on October 18. The debate also focused on the implementation of the government’s Strategy 2021+, which aims to empower the role of women in the Czech civil service and narrow the gender pay gap. We also discussed how Czech diplomacy views the concept of a feminist foreign policy, the Minister’s perspective on gender quotas, and his plans for promoting gender equality in diplomacy.
The debate also focused on the role of childcare, career opportunities for women – mothers and the steps the Ministry has already taken and can take further in this context. Systemic issues such as the possibility of working from home or having flexible working hours, were also mentioned.
Topics discussed with the Minister also included the current Israel-Palestine conflict, support for Ukraine, regulation of social media and platforms, the climate crisis, but also the different attitudes of European countries towards Russia and issues like marriage for all and abortion.
The Women’s Network meeting was hosted at the residence of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Czech Republic, who welcomed both the members and the Minister and highlighted the role of Dutch feminist foreign policy. We thank the Embassy of the Netherlands for its support.