Women in Leadership: A foreign service perspective.

Last updated: 18.03.2016 // What are the opportunities and obstacles for women reaching leadership roles in foreign services? Representatives from Australia, Japan, the USA and Norway addressed national experiences in a recent DFAT-hosted event.

In her remarks, Ambassador Kløvstad emphasised that gender balance and women leadership is not only a rights issue but also sound economy. Female participation in the workforce has been an essential part of economic growth and value creation in the Norwegian economy. For consecutive Norwegian governments enabling women’s participation in the work force has been a key priority.

In Norway, initiatives such as paid parental leave (including paternity leave), affordable and good-quality childcare (capped at approx. AUD 400/month for a full time place) and a working culture that respects a work-life balance, have contributed to a workforce where nearly 80 % of women participate.

With concrete targets for women in leadership positions, the Norwegian Foreign Service now boasts over 38 % female Heads of Missions, 40 % women in senior management positions and a near 50 % average of women in the annual graduate intake to the Foreign Service.

Ambassador Unni Kløvstad presented the Norwegian experience of Women in Leadership in the Foreign Service at a recent event hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in partnership with the Network of Women Diplomats Australia (NOWDA) and the US Embassy Australia.

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