The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP
The Hon. Alexander Downer, MP

Media Release

FA26 - 8 March 2005

International Women's Day Exhibition Celebrates Australian Women in Diplomacy

I am pleased to open a new exhibition celebrating the contribution made by Australian women to international diplomacy since the early 1900s.

In the Department of External Affair's first few decades, women had limited opportunities to represent their country internationally. Women Working for Australia pays tribute to the women who, against the prejudices and constraints of their era, played a role on the international stage and in Australia's diplomatic service.

The exhibition also highlights the recent achievements of the many talented women now employed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Women today comprise more than 49 per cent of the department's staff. Women make up 25.5 per cent of the Senior Executive Service compared with 12.5 per cent in 1996. And 18 of our diplomatic posts are headed by women, compared with six in 1996. These steady increases over previous years will continue.

Women Working for Australia, on display in the atrium of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra, has also been exhibited in New York during meetings of the UN's Commission on the Status of Women.

The exhibition's international launch has commemorated the 30th anniversary of the United Nations International Year of Women and the 10th anniversary of the World Conference on Women held in Beijing.

Women Working for Australia will continue to tour internationally, including to Manila during this year's Centennial of the Feminist Movement in the Philippines.

Media inquiries : Chris Kenny (Ministerial) 02 6277 7500, DFAT Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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