In a briefing session held to mark International Women's Day 2023, researchers from the Institute of International Affairs in Ghana, Miss Elizabeth Dela Tsidi and Mr Charles Ansre, commended Ghana for its continued efforts to promote female leadership in diplomacy and foreign policy within the Economic Community for West Africa States (ECOWAS).
The researchers highlighted how Ghana had led the sub-region in assuring women of opportunities in leadership, with many female Ghanaian diplomats taking on roles of diplomacy and development that positively position the country in the world of foreign policy.
The report mentioned notable women, including Hannah Tetteh, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Martha Pobee, Anita Kiki Gbeho, Dr. Victoria Kwakwa, and Gertrude Oforiwaa Fefoame, who are delivering impact at senior levels with the IMF, World Bank, and the UN.
Ms Tsidi said, “The most obvious example of course is the fact that over the last 10 years, women have led the diplomatic and foreign affairs efforts of the government of Ghana. This began with Hon. Hannah Serwaa Tetteh and has continued with Hon. Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, and both women have excelled in their roles. For instance, under Hon. Botchwey as Foreign Affairs Minister, Ghana successfully negotiated the siting of the AFCFTA headquarters in Accra. It is also during her tenure that Ghana is serving on the UN Security Council as a non-permanent representative. Our record compares favourably in other developed countries including Australia, which has also had women at the helm of the foreign ministers since 2015.”
However, the researchers also noted that women continue to be underrepresented in ambassadorial positions globally.
The Institute however bemoaned that women continue to be underrepresented in ambassadorial positions around the world. Mr. Charles Ansre, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute indicated that according to sources including the Diplomatic Academy, the percentage of women ambassadors from the 40 largest economies in the world and the European Union for the year 2022 was 21.6 %. In 2023, the proportion of women ambassadors and permanent representatives of the 193 United Nations (UN) member states as of February 31, was 20.54%. The average proportion of women ambassadors and permanent representatives was reported as 18% for the African Continent. Ghana leads the African continent with 49.5% of Her ambassadors being women, followed by South Africa with 39%. Globally, Ghana is ranked 4th in the percentage of women ambassadors in 2023.”
Mr. Ansre said the recognition and celebration of female achievement in diplomacy and foreign policy provides a role-modelling effect for young ladies in Ghana and Africa.
He noted, “This is very important and the Institute is committed to highlighting success stories here, in line with its agenda of using role-modelling as an advocacy tool to get more and more ladies interested and applying to global careers.”
The Institute plans to release the full report and statistics during its Women-in-Diplomacy Day commemorations on June 24, 2023.