On 10 January 2023, the British Embassy Belgium welcomed ASATT to the Ambassador’s Residence. ASATT supports youth, university students and young professionals (16-32) from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop their careers and enhance their confidence through weekly leadership, entrepreneurship, and mentoring events with Belgian and international leaders.
Senior women leaders from the British Embassy to Belgium, UK Delegation to NATO and the UK Mission to the European Union joined Chloe in sharing their experiences on building confidence, learning how to speak up and speak out, work-life balance, the positives and opportunities of bringing greater diversity to predominantly male environments, and being a catalyst for change. Chloe was delighted to meet the future young women leaders whom she described as “an inspirational group”.
Until 1973, the “marriage bar” meant women in the Foreign Office were forced to resign from their emissary roles once they wed. Until then, the choice between having a personal life and a professional one was stark: you had either a career or a family, but you couldn’t have both. Women now make up more than 30 per cent of all heads of missions around the globe, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. In 2022, for the first time, all of the UK’s ambassadors to the P5, the permanent members of the UN’s security council (America, Russia, China, France and UK), were women.
Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and therefore also half of its potential. The UK remains committed to putting women and girls at the heart of its foreign and development policy by tackling gender inequality and standing up for the rights of women and girls at home and abroad. The UK has prioritised action guided by the 3E’s: ‘Educating Girls, Empowering Women and Ending Violence against women and girls’. This event was aimed at empowering women.
Giving her personal advice to the aspiring women leaders, Chloe said:
I have learned not to be afraid of change and new challenges. To be confident in taking risks, and to play to my strengths. Our careers will be a process of learning and we can relax into that, even when we feel stretched. We can also look to colleagues and mentors for advice and support.