H.E. VERONICA CODY
Ambassador of European Union
1. What does it mean to be a woman leader in Governmental relationships?
Equality between men and women is at the core of values of the European Union (EU) and enshrined in its legal and political framework – both in its dealings with its 28 member states and in its external relations. Gender equality is a matter of human rights. We want girls and women to achieve equality in all aspects of life: access to education; equal pay for equal work; access to top positions in companies and politics; as well as protection from violence. It is important that women are actively engaged, and take on leadership roles, in political life: that they can shape policies, engage in high level political discussions and advocate publicly issues of concern to citizens. As women, unfortunately, are still under-represented in public life, we also continue to need women leaders to act as role models, to inspire other women to become more engaged in political life, to call for policies that reflect their concerns, and to take their rightful place in society. This does not mean that gender equality is an issue only for girls and women; it is an issue for the whole of society and should be pursued as such.
2. What are the challenges and advantages of being a woman diplomat ?
The challenges for women diplomats are similar to those for women in other leadership roles and positions: women still too often face discrimination, have trouble breaking through the glass ceiling and can have fewer opportunities for career development. However, as more women around the world enter the political arena, and become more prominent in so many other walks of life, it is becoming clearer that this is the natural way forward; that as half of the world population, women must play a full role in the political, economic and social development of society. Inclusion of women diplomats and women leaders in political life allows for greater diversity, greater perspective and, through greater inclusion, greater representation of the population in the shaping of policy, which can only be an advantage for everyone.
3. How do you see the status of women diplomats in the next decade ?
I believe that recognition of the importance of women’s role in society, including that of women diplomats, has been growing over the last decades, and will continue to grow, thanks to women themselves claiming that role, and to strong advocacy for more equitable and inclusive societies. To give just one example, in the G7 context, the EU and Canada co-hosted the first-ever meeting of Women Foreign Ministers in September 2018 where they pledged to build a network of governments and civil society organisations to advance gender equality and girls’ and women’s rights, and to work towards implementing existing commitments. I hope that this trend will continue and even accelerate in the next decade, perhaps most visibly among the rising economies in the world, as they increasingly understand that gender equality is a cornerstone for development. The European Union, which along with its Member States is the largest single donor of development aid in the world, mainstreams gender equality in all of its policies, and is committed to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5.
Delegation of the European Union to Nepal
Office: 761 Saraswati Marg, Lazimpat
PO Box 6754, Kathmandu, Nepal
Phone: +977 1 4429445, 4429446