It is often said that if more women were at the helm of foreign policy, there would be more peace in the world. However – and despite the fact that women have played important roles – there is little research about the actual foundations of this claim. While women’s leadership is increasingly gaining momentum, women involved in International Relations-related jobs – be it in academia, diplomacy, international organizations, government or international business – are still facing more difficulties than in other areas in climbing the seniority ladder. Within the field of International Relations, women are confronted with the pressures of work-life balance, pursuing leadership positions in a field dominated by men, and changing expectations regarding woman’s behavior across cultures and countries. The claim that is often made to justify the low number of women in senior positions in International Relations-related jobs is that there are not enough qualified women, a baseless claim that is used in many fields to justify the absence of women in senior positions. The need to understand current gender dynamics within International Relations is paramount to achieving a more gender-diverse field in the future.
The Women@IR – WeBIND network aims to promote women leadership in International Relations-related jobs: diplomacy, international organizations, academia and think tanks, business, journalism, etc. Our name comes from Governor Mitt Romney’s use of the phrase “binders full of women” to refer to his search for qualified women to occupy seats on his potential Cabinet. By inverting Romney’s wording in the network’s name, we want to stress how there is in fact plenty of very skilled women in the field. Our work consists of a body of research to be published in journal articles, books, and op-eds, exploring women leadership in International Relations and Foreign Policy. WeBIND also organizes and participates in conferences, panels, and skills training seminars centered on the theme of promoting women’s leadership in International Relations. These events provide a space for discussion and innovative problem solving among women in International Relations.
1. Research the role and effects of women leadership in International Relations and Foreign Policy.
2. Lead a public diplomacy effort to change the narrative about the role of women in international relations, foreign policy, and European integration.
3. Understand the concrete difficulties women leaders face in embarking in an International Relations career, be it diplomacy, international organizations, business, politics, or academia.
4. Train and provide mentorship to emerging women leaders to help them cope and overcome the specific difficulties of leading an international career.
For more information or to join our network, please contact us at bindi@IWPR.org