On its front page yesterday, the Washington Post reported that there are 25 female ambassadors posted in Washington, the most ever. And some have attributed it to the “Hillary effect.” Mozambique’s female ambassador to the United States, Amelia Matos Sumbana, told the Post, “Hillary Clinton is so visible [as secretary of state].… She makes it easier for presidents to pick a woman for Washington.”
Of course, it also also helps that three of the last four U.S. secretaries of state have been women: Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, and Madeleine Albright. “The pictures of U.S. diplomacy have been strongly dominated by photos of women recently.… That helps to broaden the acceptance of women in the field of diplomacy,” Meera Shankar, India’s ambassador, told the Post.
But it’s likely that Clinton in particular has had a strong effect on women’s participation in diplomacy because she is very well-known and respected abroad from her eight years as first lady, her presidential campaign, her strenuous efforts to promote women’s rights worldwide, and her globetrotting first year as secretary of state. Clinton is indeed transforming the face of diplomacy.