Women Leaders in Foreign Policy: When Federica Mogherini Found Her Voice

Federica Mogherini proved successful in reaching the ultimate goal for women leaders: she found her voice. Though this will not be enough to guarantee her success, it is a great start.

Women are still a minority at the helm of Foreign Policy and International Relations. In the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, only two members out of 18 are women, while in the House of Representative they are five out of 46. In the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, there were 20 women out of 73 in the 2009-14 legislature and they are today 13 out of 71.

Likewise, women are a minority in international senior positions. In the European Commission, between 1957 and nowadays, the ratio is even lower: 10 to 1. At the Pentagon, only 16 percent of senior positions are filled by women and only 29 percent of the chiefs of mission at the State Department and of senior foreign positions at USAID are held by women. In other words, at the leadership level, women in foreign policy and international relations still have a long way to go, as if the glass ceiling were too thick to break.

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