The year 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. It was a privilege and honor hosting Susan Sloan, author of A Seat at the Table: Women, Diplomacy, and Lessons for the World, to shed light on the importance of gender equality, parity, and equity in diplomacy.
Sloan began by discussing her inspiration for this book from her attendance at a Gala for a non-profit organization honoring all women leaders in Washington, D.C. where she felt inclined to amplify their stories. In the book, Susan Sloan explores the necessity of gender balance in diplomacy and the impact of gender-diversified leadership through a series of more than 30 interviews with female leaders across the globe including Afghanistan, Iceland, and Australia.
Sloan mentioned the stories of Ambassador Laura Romano and Ambassador Martha Bárcena to highlight the importance of emotional intelligence to diplomacy work. Sloan stated that being a woman in diplomacy opens opportunities to have greater access to other communities to gain trust and having discussions that add a level of understanding and stability in global regions. With these exemplary stories, Sloan emphasizes that it is important for women to have a seat at the table as they play a crucial role with different populations. Sloan also discussed the significance of balance in diplomacy and the many meanings of balance through the story of Ambassador Katrina Cooper. Sloan mentions Cooper’s story to amplify women’s struggles to balance career and family, as well as revealing the lack of balance between gender in management positions. Another obstacle that Sloan discusses that hinders more women from having a seat at the table is parental leave and paid childcare. Although women in diplomacy face these struggles, Sloan concludes by encouraging everyone to echo and amplify women to be allies with one another!