Last night I was privileged to attend an event at Winfield House hosted by the Honourable Ambassador Jane Hartley of the Embassy of the United States of America, to celebrate Netflix’s new series, The Diplomat.
In her address to the guests, the US Ambassador intrigued me when she highlighted that she was the first female US Ambassador in 50 years and that she hoped that The Diplomat would encourage more girls to consider diplomacy as a career.
This got me thinking about the impact of TV and the media on perceptions and ambitions of different career paths.
Karrin Vasby Anderson writes about The Diplomat in The Conversation, “With so many eyes on the latest TV iteration of a woman in a high-profile political position, its depiction of women’s leadership is significant. As a communication scholar who researches media framing of real and fictional women politicians, I am interested in how television and film shape our views of women politicians in the real world.”
As of 1 January 2023, there are 31 countries where 34 women serve as Heads of State and/or Government according to UN Women. And in my curiosity to learn more, I watched a Ted Talk from 2010 with Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sharing her experience ‘On being a woman and a diplomat’
Allbright believed that where women are politically and economically empowered, countries are better off. And that it’s important to have a critical mass of women in leadership positions. She also spoke about the key skills needed in this line of business that women are naturally good at such as personal relationships and telling it how it is when needed. I especially liked her motto of the importance of women supporting other women and that she believes ‘There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other’.
My thoughts conclude with the well-known quote, “If you can see it, you can be it” and I have no doubt on the impact that film and tv have on young girls’ aspirations of future leadership roles.