Female diplomats leave mark on Turkish foreign policy

Female ambassadors in Turkish missions abroad have increased significantly over the years, helping them leave a mark on the execution of Turkish foreign policy.

Turkish female Turkish diplomats have seen widespread success, sometimes in difficult assignments. The Foreign Ministry, in particular, stands out as one of the ministries where women are well represented.

A total of 4,316 men and 2,554 women serve at the headquarters of the ministry and in its foreign representative offices. The ratio of women working in the ministry has reached 37% as of this year, according to the latest data.

The increase in the number of women working in foreign affairs parallels the increase in the labor force participation rate of women in Turkey in general.

Women constitute 49.8% of Turkey’s population and the rate of women’s participation in the labor force increased to 34.2% by 2018 compared with 27.9% in 2020, according to the latest data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).

The number of female ambassadors at the ministry started to increase gradually after Filiz Dinçmen, the first Turkish ambassador who served in a foreign country, was appointed in 1982. The number increased to eight by 2000 and reached 19 by 2005, 21 by 2010, 37 by 2015 and 60 by 2019.

There are currently 257 ambassadors working in the ministry. Of these, 193 are men and 64 are women, indicating that women constitute 25% of the ambassadors in the ministry. While 39 of the female ambassadors are serving in foreign representation offices, 25 are working in the center.

Countries, where female ambassadors have been appointed are Burundi, Slovakia, Slovenia, Portugal, Montenegro, Bolivia, the Philippines, Mozambique, Cuba, Zambia, Thailand, South Africa, Kuwait, Namibia, Malaysia, Georgia, Colombia, Ecuador, Cambodia, Equatorial Guinea, Latvia, Oman, Paraguay, Luxembourg, Romania, the Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, Botswana, Cameroon, the Dominican Republic, Gabon, Algeria, Sri Lanka, Chile, Bulgaria, Costa Rica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Moreover, nine female general directors and 16 female deputy general directors, who are currently gaining ground for becoming ambassadors, are serving at the ministry.

Thus 32.1% of the general directorates and 30.1% of the deputy general directorates are run by women.

Of the 1,921 career officers in the ministry, 688 are women and 1,233 are men. The proportion of female civil servants has increased to 35.8%.