Women Diplomats as Champions of Women Empowerment in the 21st Century
March 16, 2023, Manila— With the rise of globalization and liberalism, we have witnessed a significant change in gender dynamics in the advent of the 21st century. Not only are women influential in the comforts of their homes but they are now also empowered in the workplace and areas where they wish to thrive. Undeniably, women's empowerment has paved the way for more economic opportunities, social rights, and political participation.
As we commemorate women from all walks of life for the month of March, Asia Society Philippines, in partnership with Manila House, hosted the ‘Ambassador’s Hour: Women Diplomats Network’ featuring different women ambassadors from the European Union in honor of the recently launched WEDIN-EU by the European External Action Service (EEAS).
Emphasizing the importance of women’s role in diplomacy, Ambassador Elizabeth P. Buensuceso (Eminent Person to the HLTF on ASEAN Community's Post-2025 Vision), opened the event on behalf of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Secretary Enrique Manalo, followed by the keynote speaker, Ambassador Delia Albert (Former Secretary Of Foreign Affairs, Philippines; Former Ambassador and Senior Adviser, Sycip Gorres Velayo & Co. (SGV & Co.); and Senior Advisor, Asia Society Philippines Foundation, Inc.), the first woman career diplomat to become Secretary of Foreign Affairs in Asia.
Moderated by Secretary Robert E.A. Borje (Vice Chairperson and Executive Director, Climate Change Commission, Philippines; Former Presidential Assistant on Foreign Affairs, Philippines) and joined by the esteemed panel, consisting of H.E. Jana Šedivá (Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Republic of the Philippines), H.E. Anke Reiffenstuel (Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of the Philippines), H.E. Annika Thunborg (Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Republic of the Philippines), H.E. Mrs. Răduţa Dana Matache (Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Romania to the Philippines), H.E. Michèle Boccoz (Ambassador of the French Republic to the Philippines and Non-Resident Ambassador-Designate to Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Marshall Islands), H.E. Marielle Geraedts (Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the Philippines, Palau, Micronesia and Marshall Islands), and Dr. Ana Isabel Sánchez Ruiz (Deputy Head of Delegation – Head of Political Press and Information Section, Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines), they highlighted the growing significance of women in the field of diplomacy and international relations.
The panel also shared their personal experiences as they started in the diplomatic field. Each ambassador opened up about how they have witnessed the progressive change the world has experienced and the positive development in the diplomatic field as it began to open its doors for women. They also spoke about how they were able to grow—personally and professionally—in the workplace, which also allowed them to empower women by supporting each other.
The program was also graced by the presence of H.E. Tull Traisorat (Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand to the Republic of the Philippines) and H.E. David Bruce Hartman (Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines), who both expressed their respect for women they work with and shared that exponential increase of women diplomats and in the field of foreign affairs in their respective countries.
Doris Magsaysay-Ho, President and Chief Executive Officer, Magsaysay Group of Companies; and Chairperson, Asia Society Philippines Foundation, Inc., concluded the program by echoing how “women are the best peacemakers” and that women, from all walks of life—be it be in the diplomatic field or in their own homes, are equal and are empowered in their own unique ways.
‘Ambassador’s Hour: Women Diplomats Network’ would not have been possible without the presence of these wonderful individuals and everyone’s continuous support for women. Moreover, the program’s success is also thanks to the partner organizations: Manila House Private Members' Club, Ateneo De Manila University, European Studies Program, University of Santo Tomas, Asian Studies Society, Lyceum of The Philippines University, College of International Relations, and De La Salle University, College of Liberal Arts.