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Letter from the Editor Dear Readers,
Chief Editor Benjamin Miller
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It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I introduce our special issue on women in diplomacy. The experience of putting this issue together has confirmed in my mind how small, underdeveloped, and yet promising this field of inquiry really is. Our authors represent the best and most compelling of what research in this multidisciplinary field has to tell us on the past and present of women and diplomacy… and the reality is as nuanced as it is surprising. Professor Bella Mirabella takes us way back to assess the varied and complex ways Queen Elizabeth used dance as a diplomatic tool. Her strikingly subtle study brings to the fore the role of physicality in international relations, and gives us much to reflect on contemporary social practices. Professor Glenda Sluga leverages the fascinating history of “pre-professional” diplomacy to do what history does best: push us to question our era’s assumptions. She makes a powerful case for how incomplete the narrative that women have only recently joined the world of diplomacy really is. Professor Maca Jogan takes us beyond diplomacy to show how the place of women within the Foreign Service can be best understood in terms of the societal division of labour. By taking us beyond the borders of diplomacy, she does more than any other offer to not only suggest how broader social changes have led to increased female participation of diplomacy, but broader continuities have both saddled female diplomats with additional duties and coloured their work. Professor Phillip Nash offers us a detailed narrative of the early years of women in the American Foreign Service. His careful work helps to show how key precedents lay the groundwork for much broader institutional change. Finally, Rachael Ostroff offers us a review of one of the canonical texts in this field “Her Excellency: An Oral History of American Women Ambassadors”. Her review offers both an engaging summary and takes up some of the key questions this text has in common with this field’s broader agenda. We always encourage our readers to actively engage the material presented here, but I want to put a special emphasis on personal engagement with this issue. As you are soon to read, the day to day conduct of diplomats matters a great deal in recreating and reinforcing gendered norms and expectations. Each diplomat therefore has the power to contribute to a Foreign Service in which diverse gendered perspectives and experiences are recognized as assets rather than made into barriers. Happy reading! Benjamin Miller
Contents IN SIGHT OF ALL: QUEEN ELIZABETH AND THE DANCE OF DIPLOMACY
THE LONG INTERNATIONAL HISTORY OF WOMEN AND DIPLOMACY 8
GENDER INEQUALITY AND DIPLOMAY
FEMALE U.S. AMBASSADORS: THE EARLY YEARS
HER EXCELLENCY: AN ORAL HISTORY OF AMERICAN WOMEN AMBASSADORS BY ANN MILLER MORIN
““’In Sight of All:’ Queen Elizabeth and the Dance of Diplomacy” Bella Mirabella, associate professor of literature and humanities, specializes in Renaissance studies, with a focus on drama, theater, performance, and gender. She is the editor the book, Ornamentalism: The Art of Renaissance Accessories (University of Michigan Press, 2011); co-editor of Shakespeare and Costume (Bloomsbury, 2015); co-editor of Left Politics and the Literary Profession (Columbia University Press, 1991), and has written articles on women, performance and sexual politics in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, including “Mute Rhetorics: Women, Dance, and the Gaze in Renaissance England,” “‘Quacking Delilahs’: Female Mountebanks in Early Modern England and Italy,” “Stealing Center Stage: Female Mountebanks, Pseudo Science and non-Professional Theater,” and “‘A Wording Poet:’ Othello Among the Mountebanks,” as well as “Queen Elizabeth and the Dance of Diplomacy.” Her current work includes an analysis of place, object and performance in the Renaissance. Since 1987, Professor Mirabella has directed and taught Gallatin’s Renaissance Humanities Seminar in Florence, Italy. She has received Gallatin’s Adviser of Distinction Award as well as NYU’s Great Teacher Award.
Bella Mirabella During the Renaissance and throughout Europe, dancing was for all classes more than a popular pastime or a pleasing entertainment; it was a cultural practice deeply integrated into and part of any celebration or significant event. But while all classes may have danced, it was at court that dancing was central to social and political participation, and often success. Being noticed in a brilliant performance, in the “sight of all,” could lead to monetary or political gain. This was certainly the case with Christopher Hatton, who in the court of Queen Elizabeth I, caught her eye and won her “favor” by dancing the vigorous and challenging galliard. As this often-cited incident of Hatton’s good fortune at court reveals, dancing was a political necessity. Queen Elizabeth herself was an excellent dancer and was able to perform, present, and manipulate dancing to her own political advantage with members of her own court as well as with those diplomats, ambassadors, and visitors who came to England and recorded observations of Elizabeth and her dancing. Elizabeth astutely understood how to
employ dance as a tool of statecraft and made her ability to perform a necessary element of her political apparatus. Part of her strategy was to make her persona the center of any discourse, whether it was the language of dance or the dance of language. In the Sight of All Queen Elizabeth followed in the footsteps of her father, literally, who was also a great dancer. In 1510, for example, Edward Hall reports Henry VIII was “much praised” for dancing in a “mummery” with other lords. In 1514 the Milanese ambassador reported that Henry was able to do “wonders,” leaping “like a stag” with the women. Elizabeth, at one of the dances to celebrate her coronation, was reported to have danced with the Duke of Norfolk in “superb array.” During his 1581 visit to England, François Duke of Alençon, one of Elizabeth’s suitors, was greatly impressed by her ability to perform in “dauncing, musicke,” and “discoursing.” But not all monarchs chose to dance. James I, Elizabeth’s successor, refused to dance as he did not like to be in the public eye. Elizabeth understood the difficulties
of being on display, “in the sight and view of all the world,” so that even “a spot is soon spied in our garments.” However, she also understood the power of that display and was careful to control her image. Like her father, Elizabeth was aware that she had to appear strong, virtuous, and in control. She also had to overcome resistance to being a female ruler and the myriad challenges to her reign, such as the Protestant-Catholic conflict, homegrown treason, threats from foreign rulers, and the problems of aging. For Elizabeth, dancing was one way to construct an image of strength. In a 1589 letter, for example, John Stanhope, a gentleman of the Privy Chamber, calmed any fears about Elizabeth’s health when he wrote to Lord Talbot that “the Queen is so well I assure you,” dancing six or seven galliards each morning for exercise. According to Anthony Weldon, Sir Roger Aston, an Englishman raised in Scotland who served James as messenger to Queen Elizabeth, reported that any time he went to England to deliver letters from James he was “always placed in the lobby next to a tapestry that portrayed Queen Elizabeth dancing to a fiddle.” Apparently, the
strategy of placing him next to the image of a dancing Elizabeth was so that he would report to James that given the queen’s “youthful disposition” the king was unlikely to soon “come to possession of the crown he so much thirsted after.” Dance in Political Discourse Not only was Elizabeth a master at using her actual dancing as a public relations tool, she was also able to insinuate discussion of her dancing into conversations about important political issues. A look at three narratives written by James Melville, the Scottish Ambassador in 1564, the French Ambassador André de Maisse in 1597, and Virginio Orsino in 1601 reveals how seamlessly Elizabeth was able to use the push and pull of conversation, the innuendo, suggestion, and subtlety of negotiation necessary in these exchanges in order to blend the rhetoric of dancing with the rhetoric of language. Melville, who was sent to Elizabeth’s court from Mary Queen of Scots to improve relations between the two countries and negotiate a marriage, apparently spoke to Elizabeth every day, sometimes three times in a day. His descriptions of these conversations reveal how adept Elizabeth was at mixing political talk with a kind of flirtatious banter, in which she manipulated Melville to compliment her. Throughout their conversations, constructed around a competition with Mary, Elizabeth asked the ambassador who had the best hair colour, who had the greatest stature, who was the better musician, and who danced best. Although Melville informed Elizabeth that he needed to get back home to tend to Mary’s “affairs,” he nonetheless “stayed two days longer, till I might see her dance.” And while he cleverly tried to avoid taking sides about who “dances best” by tactfully replying that his queen “danced not so high and disposedly” as Elizabeth, it is clear that her ability
to make him stay to see her dance is a visual, public, and diplomatic triumph over the Scottish ambassador in which she presents herself as superior, while keeping Melville on his guard. André de Maisse, who came to the English court in 1597 on a special mission from King Henri IV of France to see if Elizabeth was willing to make peace with Spain, began by criticizing the queen in his journal, but by the end is praising her many talents, including her dancing. Alternating between self-promotion and self-deprecation, Elizabeth innovatively adapted the strategies in her conversations with the French ambassador to deal with her age. Calling herself ‘fraile’, ‘feble’, and ‘foolish’, she paints herself as weak and old, prompting de Maisse to praise her. But later, after a discussion about her dancing, she tells him: “I think not to die so soon, Master Ambassador, and am not so old as they think.” At one point, he complained that she digressed and deflected from the important issues at hand, ignoring his requests for a meeting with her council. However, one evening after a lengthy discussion about her dancing and while watching her ladies dance, Elizabeth suddenly and rather casually told de Maisse ”that she had given orders for her Council to assemble” and he was expected to attend.
honour that she was able to do for me,” since according to members of the court she had not danced for fifteen years. This was a complex diplomatic moment and the crucial word is “honour,” not only for Orsino. Elizabeth’s actions certainly brought honour to herself and her court, but her display of dancing also publicly restated and confirmed the political and social bonds she had with those who observed her. What is clear from these three accounts is that Elizabeth was a savvy politician. Aware that conversations she had would be recorded, Elizabeth used and manipulated these occasions, as she did her actual dancing, to diplomatically enhance her reputation as a strong, capable, virtuous leader in control of her court while simultaneously quelling any doubts that domestic politicians or foreign rulers might have had about her power. Footnotes: 1 This is a condensed version of a much longer article, which originally appeared in Early Theater, 15.1, 2012. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12745/et.15.1.898 Thoinot Arbeau, Orchesography, 1588, trans. Mary Stewart Evans (New York, 1967), 16. 2
Robert Naunton, Fragmenta Regalia or Observations on Queen Elizabeth (1630) (Washington, D.C., 1985), 67. 3
Edward Hall, Hall’s Chronicle, 1548,1550 (London, 1809), 515-16; John Stevens, Music and Poetry in the Early Tudor Court (Cambridge, 1961), 244-5; Calendar … Venice The Venetian, Il Schifanoya, 6 February 1559, 7.18; John Stow, Chronicles, (London, 1615), 813. 4
Anthony Weldon, Weldon’s Court and Character of King James, Francis Osborne (ed), (Edinburgh, 1811), Vol. 1.300. 5
At Christmas time in 1600, the Duke of Bracciano, Virginio Orsino, visited Elizabeth’s court. He was a most distinguished visitor, with political connections to France, Italy, and the Imperial powers in Belgium, and Elizabeth knew she had to impress him. In letters to his wife, Orsino recorded the splendor of the court and his gracious treatment by the queen, but the shining moment for him was when “Her Majesty was content to dance” for her guests, which as he writes was “the greatest
Leah S. Marcus, Janel Mueller, and Mary Beth Rose (eds), Elizabeth I, Collected Works (Chicago, 2000), 194. 6
Edmund Lodge (ed.) Illustrations of British History, Biography, and Manners (London, 1853), Vol 2, 386; Weldon, Weldon’s Court, 318. 7
André Hurault de Maisse, A Journal…1597, G. B. Harrison, (ed), (London, 1931), 82, 95. 8
See Michael Wyatt, The Italian Encounter with Tudor England: A Cultural Politics of Translation (Cambridge, 2005), 133. 9
THE LONG INTERNATIONAL HISTORY OF WOMEN AND DIPLOMACY Glenda Sluga is Professor of International History at the University of Sydney. She is also an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow, currently directing the program â€˜Inventing the International â€” the origins of globalisation'. Her most recent books include Internationalism in the Age of Nationalism (2013), and, with Carolyn James, Women, Diplomacy, and International Politics (2015).
Glenda Sluga Precedent not Progress It is a curious fact of international politics that more women are appointed to political roles as diplomats and leading foreign affairs portfolios than almost any other ministerial office. Whether we think of Hillary Clinton, Federica Mogherini, Julie Bishop, or Catherine Ashton (and these are just recent Western examples) it is tempting to count these women as useful examples of political progress in liberal states in recent times. Yet new historical work is coming to precisely the opposite conclusion: The modern status of women as diplomats has a long history that can be traced back to the origins of diplomacy in the early modern era. For centuries, women acted as agents of cross-state and cross-cultural information-gathering, alliance-building and networking, as well as political negotiators. The anomaly in this history was the period that saw the origins of the modern nation-state. The present status of women as diplomats marks the belated return to an older tradition. The modern era stands less for the significance of progress, than historical precedent.
Women and Marriage Diplomacy During pre-modern centuries when royal marriages defined the political map of Europe, marriage diplomacy was the means by which nobles from various regions, possessing great or small degrees of influence and wealth, were integrated into European alliances and networks. Noblewomen destined for notable political unions were trained to deliver speeches to foreign powers and to dictate and write letters in correct chancery style so that they could participate fully in official diplomatic networks and correspondence as well as keep in contact with their influential relatives. Take Margaret de la Marck, Oberhofmeisterin to archduchess Elisabeth of Hapsburg. As one of the wealthiest heiresses in the Netherlands, de la Marck cultivated a multi-lingual European network of friends and relatives and proved to be a formidable diplomatic player in the second half of the sixteenth century. In the French and Spanish courts respectively, Madame de Maintenon and Anne-Marie de La TrĂŠmoille exercised unrivalled diplomatic clout. They gathered information and represented the interests of the ruler in
negotiating his affairs, standard tasks of any male ambassador. In contrast to the men, however, their duties were nowhere written down and allowed them greater political flexibility than formally appointed envoys. Occasionally Madam de Maintenon pleaded ignorance and female incapacity when she wanted to disclaim her involvement in difficult diplomatic situations. This occurred in the context of a widespread recognition, even by the Pope, that women were unusually influential intermediaries with the French and Spanish monarchs.
The 17th Century Ambassadrice By the seventeenth century, the title of ambassadrice was given to women who accompanied their spouses to foreign postings, in what became the standard nineteenth and twentieth century modes. The English ambassadress to the Spanish court in Madrid, Lady Anne Fanshawe, operated within female networks of sociability, conversing, writing and answering letters, receiving and paying visits as well as giving and receiving gifts. All of these activities were fundamentally establishing warm Anglo-Spanish relations and expected of an ambassadress. We also know that Lady Fanshawe operated behind a
and obedient wife sharing the diplomatic burdens of her husband Sir Richard Fanshawe. Fanshawe’s double-life reminds us of the controversy that could surround women’s political agency in a period when gender conventions were gradually becoming more set. However, the long durée view offers us evidence of individual women with formidable diplomatic clout who operated not in a matrimonial team, but in their own right. In the early nineteenth century, in the context of the Napoleonic wars and growing demands for political representation that followed Napoleon’s defeat, the bourgeois Paris-born Germaine de Staël and Russian Countess Dorothea Lieven each used letters, networks, and new forms of sociability to influence key diplomatic episodes in the shaping of a post-Napoleonic European order. Staël and Lieven were exceptional women, with noble connections established either through marriage or birth. But their lives suggest that in the midst of the emergent European ‘congress’ system of diplomacy conducted through international conferencing, and the formalization of diplomatic practices and processes across Europe, women could still be important diplomatic actors. The salon-based political intervention favoured by aristocratic women in the Enlightenment environment of the eighteenth century remained a staple of informal diplomatic sociability. Both Staël and Lieven used their homes to compete with courts and ministries for influence over foreign policies and over foreign statesmen. Stael’s salon—in St. Petersburg, Stockholm, and London—was crucial to the formation and ideological focus of the successful coalition that fought Napoleon; Lieven’s—in
London and Paris—brought Russia and Britain into the Eastern Question. Professionalization and Exclusion As the nineteenth century wore on, diplomatic processes became professionalized and more regularly took place in the halls of political power, where the newly elected as well as appointed representatives of ‘the people’ sat in session, away from the influence of women. Diplomacy was understood to be ‘a masculine realm of conquest and fame.’ The spaces of diplomacy still included salons, but in partial contrast to their eighteenth century predecessors they were less ostensibly about ideas than about furthering intimacy for its own sake. By the twentieth century, envoys were increasingly selected with due consideration of the dynastic capital and social status of their wives, whose conventional tasks were reduced to the complement of her husband. The US State Department took official measure of American ambassadors in terms of their wives’ abilities as hostesses, using their personal charm and powers of domestic organisation to transform the ambassadorial home into an effective space of informal diplomacy while connections and money continued to be enabling factors for the rise of individual women in diplomacy. In Sweden, ambitious young diplomats inevitably endeavoured to find rich and socially accomplished wives who would improve their career prospects, a strategy that was not so far removed from many a dynastic marriage of earlier times.
Women’s Return It took until the end of the Second World War for women to return to more direct roles in diplomacy in western liberal-democratic states. For example, before 1946 Britain was
determined to preserve diplomacy as an exclusively masculine profession. In some cases, foreign ministries were most persistent in blocking the appointment of women, above and beyond the call of other state functions. It is no coincidence that the famous British diplomat (and historian of diplomacy) Harold Nicolson assumed that women's alleged qualities of intuition and sympathy rendered them a diplomatic liability. The first generation of British female diplomats, although frequently sharing the same privileged social and educational backgrounds as their male colleagues, struggled to overcome their ‘outsider’ status and exceptional circumstances. The appointment of women nonetheless challenged the pre-existing gender hierarchies underpinning British diplomatic culture, even though until 1973 it was not acceptable for a female diplomat to be married. It was also around this same time that Swedish diplomatic wives were spurred by second-wave feminism to demand official recognition of their services to the state. The private contributions of the ambassadress were returning more openly into the public realm.
** If women were always there, why don't we know more about their diplomatic roles? It did not help that through the early modern and modern era, women’s correspondence was physically separated from its original diplomatic context as busy archivists of the nineteenth century reordered earlier collections into public and private categories. Nor is it a coincidence that in the early twentieth century (mainly male) historians could describe diplomacy's modern qualities as ‘not the art of conversation’which implied feminine qualities
as ‘not the art of conversation’ which implied feminine qualities but rather the more masculine ‘art of negotiating agreements in precise and ratifiable form… far better left to the professional diplomat.’ It is also true that even at the height of women’s involvement in diplomacy, their status was subject to controversy. Recording her role in a vital foreign policy episode in 1825, the Russian ambassadrice Dorothea Lieven revelled in the fact that ‘the most cautious and discreet of Ministers [had been] compelled to entrust the most confidential, most intimate and most bold political
projects to a woman.’ After she was
This article draws on a longer essay published as 'The Long International History of Women in Diplomacy and International Politics', and co-authored with Carolyn James, in Sluga and James, eds., Women, Diplomacy and International Politics since 1500 (Routledge, 2015). 1
expelled from her husband’s embassy in London, she eventually moved her salon to Paris, picked the former residence of one of the most famous of France’s diplomats, Talleyrand, as her home. She wrote too in private correspondence and her unpublished memoirs of her career as a ‘diplomat.’ Even as we are getting accustomed to women in public roles of negotiation and conversation, it is worth remembering women’s past initiatives to engage crucial questions of war and peace, and the diligent efforts of men to keep them out of that history.
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Harold Nicolson, Diplomacy, London: Harcourt Brace, 1939.
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Mastermind China’s GENDER INEQUALITY AND DIPLOMACY Merging Energy Diplomacy Maca Jogan (1943) is professor emeritus at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her main research is in the fields of the history of sociological theory and of the gender sociology. She is author of the books (in Slovene): Sociology of Order (1978), Women and Discrimination (1986), Woman, Church and Family (1986), Social Construction of Gender Hierarchy (1990), Contemporary Streams in Sociological Theory (1995), Sexism in the Everyday Life (2001), Sociology and Sexism (2014).
Maca Jogan Particularly in the second half of the twentieth century, diplomacy gradually lost its traditional single-gender composition (at the highest levels). Nonetheless, this prestigious area of international politics is often still regarded as a typically “male domain”, which initial feminization has only begun to transform. While it is impossible to attribute the cause of persistent gender inequality to any one factor, it is vital to consider how the professional sphere of public service fits into the broader social structure of life and its division of caring labor.
Reproducing Assumptions in Diplomatic Training This assumption of diplomacy as a male domain is noticeable, for example, in mass communication as well as in professional and scientific discourse. “Male diplomats” act as the self-evident key actors in diplomacy, who are accompanied by the “ladies”; under this assumption, the feminization of professional diplomatic tasks can be explained as a consequence of the lack of “staff resources”, especially in young diplomacies in the recently
established states (Jazbec, 2002: 168). Such stereotypical perceptions of diplomacy as a male fortress are still present even in the education of the future key diplomatic actors. Women are, for example, reduced to the aesthetic accessory in textbooks on diplomacy and are therefore mentioned only in the rules, which specify “the lady’s clothes” (Jazbec, 2009: 236). This narrow way of depicting the place of women in diplomatic practice is so reductionist it even neglects the informal domestic social role of “the lady”. Though women play an irreplaceably useful role as the wives of diplomats and the supporting “actresses” (at the “infra-structure” level), this role remains mostly invisible as the “natural” duty of women. However, as a result of feminist research, the invisibility of women in world politics is increasingly subject to critical assessment. S. Smith and P. Owens (2007: 362) thus emphasize: After all, it was not true that women were actually absent from world politics but that they in fact played central roles, either as cheap factory labor, as prostitutes around military bases, or as the wives of diplomats.
This assessment can be accepted as the “pure truth” and not only as one of the possible interpretations of the illusive and fluid reality, because without women’s care work, no (political) activity would even be possible. This very fact has also served as a justification of women’s subordination and domestication and particularly for their exclusion from the relevant and powerful deciding positions of (world) politics. Despite improvements in discrimination against women in the last few decades, the “natural” gender division of work and particularly the gender asymmetry in the disposal of political power in most countries still prevails. Women are either a small minority or totally absent in the most reputable areas such as defense, finance, and foreign policy; usually they are active on areas such as health, social and women’s affairs, upbringing, family, culture, etc. (Paxton and Hughes, 2007: 98). The asymmetrical distribution of political power in favor of men is significant, and the effects are visible both in the public and private sphere. Data from a recent large international study on the characteristics of political elites show that women encounter obstacles, which derive from the role
traditionally attributed to them, even in the most senior posts in politics. For instance, fewer women than men in this category have a partner (76,4% : 92,2%); men have more children than women (on average 2,24 : 1,87); women are more burdened with the family or do not have a family at all (and thus at least partially avoid their traditional role); in short, women often have to sacrifice their personal life. The key finding of the group of female and male researchers, who conducted this study was that where affirmative policies for the achievement of gender equality are adopted, the possibilities for women increase (Vianello and Moore, 2004: 188). This can be also seen in diplomacy. To take just one example, diplomatic activity is most open to women in Nordic and the former socialist countries.
plex affirmative action programmes are needed which encompass all areas (assignment of jobs, promotion, work assessment, remuneration, etc.). For three decades such programmes (passed in the State Department) have been contributing to the improvement of women’s position in the American Foreign Service (Jogan, Stefanović Kajzer, Božović 2014 : 300-304). In spite of such worldwide endeavours for the abolition of gender inequality, women in all fields of public activity encounter various obstacles.
Even where there are more women, when starting out women “novices” generally encounter various obstacles in every aspect of diplomatic activity despite their professional qualifications, both in the domestic diplomatic organization as well as in missions abroad and are therefore often in a more difficult position than men (Jazbec, 2002: 169).
These hindrances are not a result of personal choices (wishes) but due to the prevailing culture, rules, the rule-makers, and the implementation of said rules. An important common characteristic of all cultures, despite the global cultural diversity is discrimination against women. This is seen in the fact that in the present time the care (“female”) activities often continue to remain in the shadow of the acts of the “statesmen”. At the beginning of the 21st century the discussion on discrimination against women remains pressing and its causes are irreducible to any single factor.
The resilience of the discrimination against women The inclusion of women in diplomatic activity shows some characteristics of horizontal and vertical segregation which are distinctive of political decision making in general and are an obvious indicator of inequality. The indicator of vertical gender segregation in diplomacy is the underrepresentation of women on the senior diplomatic and consular posts, while the sign of horizontal segregation is the appointment of women on less influential and not very important ambassadorial posts within diplomatic-consular networks. For the diminishing of discrimination against women in diplomacy com-
One must understand gendered inequalities in the diplomatic sphere in the context of culture as a whole and the entire social structure as well as its functioning at all levels – from the shaping of personal identity and the social role of the individual, to the various administrative and finally supervisory institutions in society. This structure has been built for most of history by a relatively small group of men operating under sexist assumptions. Is it any wonder that such a process would produce andro-centric rules? Though many outer manifestations of this culture are less visible or no longer exist, this does not mean that androcentrism has been eliminated, particularly
because of its comprehensive institutional support. All benefits were and are institutionally ensured to men, though unequally according to their social position, to which the American sociologist M. Messner (1997: 59), among others, draws attention. It should not surprise us when we find social, economic, and political indicators reflective of this longentrenched division of labour, and it is intellectually and politically irresponsible to dismiss such indicators as mere “leftovers”. The distribution of work and gender-specific personality characteristics have always been (in all systems of government) strictly delimited, reinforced, and controlled so that the public sphere and the hierarchically higher position and the superior role were assigned to men not only in the public but also in the private sphere. Socially necessary and permanent activities, which ensuring the existence of the individual and the species, were labeled as female work and were less valued compared to public (male) activities. The acquisition and particularly the realization of women’s social rights during the last several decades have been particularly characterized by the dominance of the unbalanced social and cultural determinants of everyday life, which presents a particular, additional burden to those assuming new, non-traditional roles. This burden has been unequally distributed. As a rule, women entered the public sphere according to the addition principle (occupying both a traditional and a new role), meaning that their integration into the public sphere was conditional. This simply means that women can be publicly active in various areas under the condition that they are aware of their primary role (in the private sphere). It is therefore impossible to separate gendered inequality in diploma-
cy from underlying assumptions regarding the entire organization of life. The fact that the women’s entering into public activity has not been accompanied by the men’s equally extensive entering into the private sphere is being thoroughly documented by researchers around the world. The institutional order does not yet sufficiently include the redistribution principle, according to which both genders have evenly assigned responsibilities and duties in all areas of activity, from partnership, family to “high” state and world politics.
Women’s Participation and Substantive Change In view of the various efforts of the UN and other organizations to increase gender equality in all areas and at all levels in the contemporary world and bearing in mind the role of political decision-making, the question if and how would a higher number of women in the leading political positions contribute to a change in (world) politics arises. The answers, which are based on individual examples of women in senior political posts in some countries from the recent decades, are not—and indeed cannot be—uniform. The contributions of women who are leading politicians range from meeting the stereotypical expectations of altruism, to surpassing the characteristics of the male leadership pattern (and thus actually nullifying the need for increasing the number of women holding the leading positions in politics). This simple fact points out that the contribution of the leading women in political decision-making cannot be separated from other determinants, such as class, race, religion, and other affiliations. Despite the widely varying political orientations of women in leading political positions, some studies have revealed particularities of female
activity, which are worthy of attention in general, but especially from the perspective of the regulation of cohabitation according to principles of sustainable (durable) development. According to the previously mentioned study on political elites (Vianello and Moore, 2004), women are less market-oriented than men and more in favor of state measures for a more equitable distribution of resources, more democratic and equality-oriented, as well as more sensitive to discrimination; and according to the study from the USA (Conover and Sapiro in Paxton, 2007: 95), American female leaders were less in favor of the USA participating in twentieth century military interventions.
Kajzer, Božović 2014: 305). Finally, the extent of gender equality in diplomatic activity will correspond to the extent to which comprehensive and coordinated social efforts will be oriented towards moving “women’s issues” from the edge to the center of political activity at all levels so that the question of “shaping people” will not be less important than killing people and destroying the natural environment.
The data also shows that women in senior political positions are less aggressive (which is an otherwise expected characteristic of male politicians). In ten international crises between 1960 and 1990, which also included countries with women in the leading positions, female leaders never initiated the crisis (Caprioli and Boyer in Paxton..., 2007: 95). These findings are worthy of note, because even at the beginning of the twentyfirst century, the viewpoint that “men are better political leaders” than women remains widely accepted, even in the USA (according to the data of the World Values Survey, 2000, in Paxton and Hughes, 2007: 115–116).
Conclusion Those countries in which women's representation in diplomacy is already at a higher level should be taken as role models and the sources for the (additional) measures that can contribute to the advancement of the status of women in this high status activity. The multiple measures for the gender-balanced diplomacy have to address its barriers at all levels, from education, through recruitment to the promotion (Jogan, Stefanović
Footnotes: 1 In the comparative study on the political and economical elites, which included 27 of the most industrialized democratic countries (also Slovenia), the data were collected between 1993 and 1995. In each country 60 people combined were interviewed, 30 people were among the holders of power in senior posts (15 men and 15 women) and 30 were members of the economic elite (with the same composition). S.v. Mino Vianello and Gwen Moore (2004). The concept of “caring” has been established in the more recent sociological literature, written in English (e.g. R. Crompton, 2006). The concept of sexism does not encompass only one dimension of social activity; it is – similarly as racism – a wider concept in terms of contents. Sexism is the term denoting the entirety of beliefs, views, patterns of activity, and practical everyday activity, which are based on the strict distribution of activities between the genders and attribute particular unequal characteristics based on gender (Jogan, 2001: 1). 3
The concept of “androcentrism” is more appropriate than “patriarchate” (which is still used by many female and male sociologists), because it encompasses the entire male gender, regardless of the paternal role; men had certain advantages over women as the members of the gender whether they were fathers (“patriarch”) or not. 4
Women in leading positions have been and continue to be an extremely rare occurrence. For instance, in 1980, there were only five women among the 1000 leaders in the world. In the recent decades (from 1960, when Sirimavo Bandaranajke became the leader of a modern country, to 2006 inclusively) there were only 30 women in such positions (minister, presidents, or presidents of the state) (Paxton in Hughes, 2007: 80–85). 5
Margaret Thatcher could serve as an example of a female leader, who actually seemed very masculine. She had many known monikers, e.g. “Maggy Thatcher the Milk Snatcher” (because she made an effort to cancel milk lunch in schools). More on differently oriented female leaders in Paxton and Hughes (2007: 90–96). 6
One such source can be noted in the experience of Australia, where gender equality has been the guiding principle in the entire diplomatic practice since the 1980s. (Dee and Volk 2014: 307-324). 7
FEMALE U.S. AMBASSADORS: THE EARLY YEARS Philip Nash is Associate Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University, Shenango Campus, where he has received three awards for his teaching. He holds a PhD in History from Ohio University and an MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. In 2010 he was Fulbright Visiting Professor at the National University of Singapore. He is author, most recently, of “A Woman’s Place is in the Embassy: America’s First Female Chiefs of Mission, 1933-64,” in Glenda Sluga and Carolyn James, eds., Women, Diplomacy, and International Politics Since 1500 (Routledge, 2015). He is currently writing a book about America’s first female ambassadors.
Philip Nash “Ambassador: A Man, just a little below God.” So began one diplomatic spouse’s “Alphabet of a Diplomat” in 1914, which captures the male domination of the diplomatic world in the early twentieth century. Products of that era’s pervasive misogyny, the men of the American diplomatic corps excluded women because: the latter allegedly could not keep secrets; the profession entailed serious physical risks; foreign officials might take offense, even if Americans did not; women could not cultivate the necessary social ties, for instance, because they were barred from men’s clubs; and, lastly, women were supposedly too emotional—this was, after all, a profession that treasured Talleyrand’s words: “Surtout, pas trop de zèle.” It probably did not help that, amidst recurring bouts of widespread male gender anxiety, diplomats were hypersensitive to their popular image as effete, effeminate, even homosexual “cookie pushers” and “stripedpants boys” and often sought to compensate by asserting their manliness. Royal Typewriter knew how to sell its rugged machines to the readers of the American Foreign Service Journal when in a 1941 advertisement it declared, No Sissies Wanted. Despite the resulting opposition, the first female US Foreign Service Officer,
Lucile Atcherson, was appointed in 1922. After years of being denied overseas assignment and then promotions, she resigned upon getting married…which would become not just a practice, but rather a de facto State Department rule, lasting until 1971. She was followed by only a handful of other women, most of whom lasted only a few years. By the early 1930s, the future of American female diplomats looked bleak, and the concept of a woman running an embassy, absurd. That changed in 1933 when, sensitive to the importance of women in American politics and influenced by his wife Eleanor, President Franklin Roosevelt named former Congresswoman Ruth Bryan Owen Minister to Denmark. Thus did the USA become the third country, after Hungary and the USSR, to send a female chief of mission abroad. Owen served in Copenhagen until 1936, when she was forced to resign after marrying a Dane. Owen had performed creditably enough that Roosevelt repeated the experiment in 1937, when he sent 67-year-old political activist and Washington salon hostess Florence Jaffray Harriman to Norway—a country Roosevelt chose partly because of its likely exclusion from a European war. Harriman was in Oslo in April 1940 when the Nazi Blitzkrieg arrived, and
for days she risked her life remaining in contact with the fleeing Norwegian government. After a nine-year gap, Roosevelt’s successor Harry Truman named two female chiefs in 1949. The first was famed “Hostess with the Mostes’,” wealthy political fundraiser and party-giver Perle Mesta. As Minister to Luxembourg, Mesta was not distinguished, but she was immensely popular and did surprisingly well despite her obvious limitations. The second was Eugenie Anderson, Minnesota political activist sent to Denmark as Ambassador, the first American woman to hold that rank. Universally praised as a first-class diplomat, Anderson was also the first American woman to sign a treaty. She went on to a second, far more challenging role, as Minister to Communist Bulgaria (1962-64). President Dwight Eisenhower (195361) also appointed two women, although to multiple posts. Playwright, journalist, Congresswoman, celebrity, wife of media mogul Henry Luce—Clare Boothe Luce added Ambassador to Italy to her impressive resumé in 1953. Here, she overcame Italian resentment over Washington’s dispatch of a woman and earned
great respect in Rome, partly for her key role in settling the Trieste dispute. Eisenhower’s other appointment was the exception among the early female chiefs, being the only one to rise (slowly) through the ranks of the career Foreign Service: Frances Willis. Willis was sent first to Switzerland—where women did not yet enjoy the right to vote—and then Norway. She rounded out her career as Ambassador to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka, 1961-64). These women obviously comprise a limited sample, but certain patterns emerge from their experiences. With few exceptions, they enjoyed favorable press coverage—partly because of low expectations— which was nevertheless marked by the sexism typical of the age. Commentary focused often on their appearance, attire, and entertaining; Anderson was “Denmark’s American Sweetheart,” while Willis according to one headline liked Embassy Fireplaces Aglow with Homelike Coziness. Such treatment rendered them frivolous next to their male counterparts. Most of the women faced at least some hostility or obstruction from the Foreign Service or State Department. Rarely was it as bad as it was for Perle Mesta, whose Legation flirted with dysfunction, but the others faced it as well. It should be noted, however, that disentangling the men’s motives—contempt for amateurs, political appointees, and unconventional policies coexisted with any misogyny—is extremely difficult. The ambassadorial spouse, usually neglected but crucial to the success of a chief’s tenure, was missing in most instances and posed a serious challenge. In the first three cases,
the widowhood that freed the women to accept appointments also denied them spousal assistance on the job. Willis, the professional, remained single (to keep her job), and compensated by relying on her mother; Mesta did likewise with her sister (and her huge fortune, which afforded her a huge personal staff ). Anderson’s husband, an artist, was free to accompany her to her posts, but did not nearly fulfill the “wife’s” role (and with his presence he caused serious protocol complications). All the women ended up devoting significant time to entertainment that put them at a considerable disadvantage compared to men, almost all of whom had traditional, stay-at-home wives to assist them. Despite such obstacles, Anderson, Luce, and Willis clearly succeeded in all aspects of the job; all six were smashing successes in the realm of representation. All (although Luce and Willis to a lesser extent) came to practice what Anderson called “people’s diplomacy”—representing Washington not merely to the host government, but to the host people: traveling widely, including where no foreign diplomat had yet ventured, learning some (or in Anderson’s case all) of the host language, and meeting people from all walks of life. Along with the novelty of their gender, this open approach made them household names in their host countries, where few citizens could name any other foreign diplomat. This greatly enhanced what in most cases were already sound bilateral relations. So what does this brief sketch suggest about the history of women and diplomacy? First, change often occurs slowly, or imperceptibly, but that does not mean it is not happening. To be sure, women did not
become commonplace in American diplomacy until the 1980s. But what might appear as stagnation into the 1960s, when the appointments remained few in number and seemed confined to small European countries, in fact constituted gradual progress: Ambassadorial rather than just Ministerial appointments, a post in a major ally (Italy) rather than just minor allies or neutrals, a post in a Communist bloc country (Bulgaria), and a post in Asia (Ceylon). While this was a case of setting precedents rather than establishing norms, one by one, Presidents lifted de facto restrictions on female assignments, which is all the more impressive since the overall number remained token. And these Presidents never regretted expanding these boundaries, however timidly and incrementally they may have gone about doing so. Footnotes: 1
Lillie De Hegermann-Lindencrone, The Sunny Side of
Diplomatic Life, 1875-1912 (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1914), p. ix. 2
Royal Typewriter advertisement, American Foreign Ser-
vice Journal 18 (April 1941): 233. 3
Molly Wood, “Lucile Atcherson Curtis: The First Female
Diplomat,” Foreign Service Journal 90 (July-August 2013): 44-48. 4
Philip Nash, “America’s First Female Chief of Mission: Ruth
Bryan Owen, Minister to Denmark, 1933-36,” Diplomacy and Statecraft 16 (March 2005): 57-72. 5
Susan Ware, Partner and I: Molly Dewson, Feminism, and
New Deal Politics (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987), p. 191; Florence Jaffray Harriman, Mission to the North (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1941), pp. 246-89. 6
Ernest Leiser, “Denmark’s American Sweetheart,” Saturday
Evening Post, May 5, 1951; “She Likes Embassy Fireplaces Aglow With Homelike Coziness,” [unknown newspaper, Greensboro, NC], n.d. [ca. 7 January 1960], Amb to Norway, Clippings 1960, Box 23, Frances E. Willis Papers, Hoover Institution Archives.
HER EXCELLENCY: AN ORAL HISTORY OF AMERICAN WOMEN AMBASSADORS BY ANN MILLER MORIN Rachael Ostroff is a Master’s candidate in Political Economy at Carleton University, exploring how collective trauma manifests itself in economic and foreign policy outcomes. She covers Parliamentary and business issues on a freelance basis for a wide variety of audience. She is engaged in ongoing campus-wide debates on the status of women’s issues in Canadian Public Policy.
ming in the first women ambassadors.
Next Morin examines how well women functioned as chiefs of missions and to what extent they were able to influence foreign policy. Morin concludes that, in general, the women studied performed to a “high standard” (268). Morin notes that even though ambassadors are sent to a country to implement pre-established foreign policy, several of her subjects did effectively shape policy while serving as envoys. In countries not considered important to U.S. interests, in particular, a great deal of latitude was possible. Jane Abell Coon, in Bangladesh, for example, wrote her own instructions (229). Nancy Ostrander had the advantage and disadvantage of “winging it” during a coup in Suriname so that she could set her own rules (274).
Nonetheless, these low expectations are precisely what afforded some very unique advantages. The vast majority of these featured women ambassadors believed that being a woman brought about the ability to speak bluntly to male officials (particularly in developing countries) without offending them. According to Mary Olmsted, a woman representing the United States is less likely than a man to “insist on being a big wheel” and is therefore accepted as a non-threatening, sympathetic presence and a source of support (119). As Caroline Clendening Laise explains in her testimony: “I don’t believe that a woman is as threatening to a male official in a developing country as perhaps another male would be…I tend to feel that it is not so much a matter of personal chemistry as it is the fact that the presence of a woman simply is easier somehow for them to cope with” (73). Nancy Ostrander said that, as a woman, she could say “ ‘Gee whiz, I don’t understand this at all. Could someone please explain it to me?’ And no man could ever say that. His pride would never let him, although it would be true” (188). Gender expectations, therefore, are presented as simultaneously confining and liberating. Trailblazers or Just Competent? The women’s self-reflective opinions on being female pioneers range from those believing that plans for promoting and utilizing the talents of women should be placed on the national agenda, to those
The Dualities of Gendered Expectations Analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of being a woman in a male profession is made the most explicit throughout the oral history. Throughout the decades covered by these testimonies, there was a great deal of hostility towards women. In some places, such as India, there was a “tendency to assume that women in political sections were spies” (65). In Italy, Claire Luce’s deputy reported that before her arrival, Italian contacts at the Foreign Office asked: “Why make us a third-class power by sending a lady to a Latin country?” (269). These are just some examples of the skepticism and low expectations welco-
like Margaret Joy Tibbetts, who wished not to focus on gender, but to judge aptitude on a equal plane with men: “The question of a woman ambassador is not, ‘Is she a good woman ambassador?’ but, ‘Is she a good ambassador?’ And that’s the only point that matters” (53). The majority of the book’s subjects considered themselves “ambassadors who happened to be women, not women who happened to be ambassadors” (188). Contrary to the reader’s expectation of grand pronouncements about the special status of women—serving some lofty end on the road to emancipation—the greatest consensus of Morin’s subjects is that they were “just doing their jobs” (188). Reflecting on Oral History The technique of oral history is precisely what brings these telling subtleties to light. It enables the release of subjective narrations, inviting the reader to reflect on accepted universal historical pronouncements in a more layered fashion. Oral history captures history’s authentic shades of grey. Lost scientific rigour due to the relationships Morin had with her subjects prior to the study is made up for in her unique and rich articulation of intricacies.
Women: Force of Diplomatic Relations