Spain's New Policy to Increase Female Positions in Embassies

Arancha González Laya, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs is planning the appointment of more than 30 ambassadors to fill the positions that have been opened as a result of the diplomatic missions that have been implemented by Spain.

The Woman Post | Catalina Mejía

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The fact that 30% of the new ambassadors are women, represents a significant step towards the involvement of women in diplomatic positions. Elena Gómez Castro will be an ambassador for the Political and Security Committee of the European Union. Currently, she is General Director of Defense Policy (DIGENPOL).

Although the process of selecting the new ambassadors has been undisclosed, some of the names of the new ambassador have been revealed. For instance, José María Ridao who used to be the ambassador at UNESCO will possibly be the ambassador of Spain to India. It is still unknown, who will be the next ambassador of Spain to the United Kingdom, even though it is a key position since Brexit took place. The named position has been empty since February when Carlos Bastarreche retired.

The process of appointment for the new ambassadors began before last year’s Christmas with the preparation of candidate triples but was kept on stand-by for some months. Finally, it has been announced that there are 30 candidates to be named, which will be first approved by the Council of Ministers. They will start in their positions by summer 2021. It is worth highlighting that one-third of candidates are women.


Even though 27% out of 900 diplomatic positions are occupied by women, they only account for 20% are at the top of the diplomatic missions. This is expected, since until 1970 women did not have access to diplomatic positions. Until the moment, there have never been women occupying ambassador positions in the most important missions, such as Washington, London, or Moscow or at the United Nations in New York. The only one has been María Victoria Morera, who was ambassador at Berlin in 2017.

Last November at the United Nations, Spain had already led a Resolution for the response to the pandemic to bear in mind the participation of women, taking into account the rise of sexist violence to the participation of women in the first line of the health response.

González Laya claimed that the new appointments are a consequence of the feminist foreign affair policy that he is leading. With the new ambassadors who will be named, she intends to demonstrate that feminism is being put into practice in Spain. Finally, it is important to mention that according to studies by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an increase in the participation of women in the labor force, leads economies to grow faster and has a positive impact on gross domestic product (GDP).

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