Presence of Women in Brazilian Diplomacy is a topic of debate in Sao Paulo

According to data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil (MRE), as of 2019, 366 women are members of the staff of Itamaraty diplomats, composed of 1,576 employees (23% of the total). In the classes from 1953 to 2015 of Instituto Rio Branco (IRBr), 427 women entered the diplomatic career, corresponding to 20.1% of total number of entrants.
International Relations
03 May 2019
Presence of Women in Brazilian Diplomacy is a topic of debate in Sao Paulo

According to data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil (MRE), as of 2019, 366 women are members of the staff of Itamaraty diplomats, composed of 1,576 employees (23% of the total). In the classes from 1953 to 2015 of Instituto Rio Branco (IRBr), 427 women entered the diplomatic career, corresponding to 20.1% of total number of entrants. To discuss the issue of Gender and the Diplomatic Career in Brazil, FGV’s School of International Relations (RI) is holding the screening of the film “Exteriores: Mulheres Brasileiras na Diplomacia” (“Exteriors: Brazilian Women in Diplomacy), followed by a debate that will be attended by Ambassador Irene Vida Gala. The event will take place on May 6, at 2 p.m. at FGV, in Sao Paulo (Rua Itapeva, 432 – room 908, Bela Vista, São Paulo, SP).

In 1918, Maria José de Castro Rabello was the first woman to enroll in the Admission Examination of the Diplomatic Career in Brazil. Initially, she was prevented from taking the examination. After appealing, however, she took it and became the first woman to join the Diplomatic Career and the country’s first public servant, being approved in 1st place in the Admission Examination.

Following that, the presence of women in Brazilian diplomacy suffered a series of discontinuities: while, until 1918, there were no female public servants or women in diplomacy, in 1938, with the consular and diplomatic unification, the entry of new servants became expressly prohibited. In 1954, the discriminatory policy was abandoned, but legal bottlenecks that hindered the entry of women into the diplomatic career were progressively abandoned throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Currently, Itamaraty seeks to promote gender equity in the institution and participates in the discussion and international events on the subject.

Irene Vida Gala is an Ambassador and has a 34-year diplomatic career. At Itamaraty, she served as head of the Southern Africa Division, in Brasília. Abroad, she served in the Brazilian Embassies in Lisbon (Portugal), Luanda (Angola) and Pretoria (South Africa), served the Consulate General of Brazil in Rome (Italy), participated in the Brazilian Mission to the UN and was Ambassador of Brazil to Accra (Ghana), between 2011 and 2016. Currently, she serves in the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ERESP), in Sao Paulo. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from UnB and was approved with honors at the Higher Studies Examination of Instituto Rio Branco (CAE IRBr).