International Women’s Day Part 1

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, which is being celebrated annually on March 8 since 1921, SOCIETY is yet again highlighting the female Ambassadors and leaders of important (international) organizations and institutions. But it is not only on this special day that SOCIETY is providing a platform for women – throughout the whole year we are featuring publications ranging from portraits of inspiring women like former First Lady Michelle Obama or primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall to articles about women’s suffrage and focus interviews with female Ambassadors.

We want to start this special by presenting all current female Ambassadors accredited in Austria (in alphabetical order), together with personal statements regarding the International Women’s Day or extracts from previous interviews with SOCIETY.

We would also like to wish all female SOCIETY readers a Happy International Women’s Day!

(Photo: pixabay)



H.E. Manizha BAKHTARI (since 2021)

“I choose to challenge and call out gender inequalities in the field of education. I call on this challenge to generate change and to raise awareness about the importance of education. We must continue to fight for the rights of women and build opportunities for young women through education. Creating an inclusive world means equal opportunities for Women and Men in education.”

(c) Photo: Embassy of Afghanistan

Algeria: H.E. Faouzia MEBARKI (since 2016)

(c) HBF/Pusch

Angola: H.E. Teodolinda Rosa Rodrigues COELHO (since 2018)



H.E. Heidi Alberta HULAN (since 2017)

„[…] We live in a highly competitive knowledge-based economy and in knowledge based economies, you simply cannot afford to leave fifty percent of the ingenuity and energy of your population on the sidelines. In this sense gender equality is also a driver of prosperity.”

SOCIETY Interview 2017, Photo: SOCIETY

Cuba: H.E. Loipa SANCHEZ LORENZO (since 2019)



H.E. Elena Rafti (sine 2018)

„[…]It is very important for women to network and promote the cause of other women. It is central to make sure that any special needs are being reflected and being taken into account. Generally, gender needs to be seen as a cross cutting theme.

I think that more women in diplomacy would incorporate a diversity of aspects, since women represent fifty percent of the population everywhere. It is also important that men engage with this kind of change because it affects everyone and gender topics are for men and women.

[…] In general, we need to become more inclusive because this way, we can enrich and empower the whole society.”

Interview with SOCIETY 2019, Photo: SOCIETY/Salas-Torrero

Czech Republic

H.E. Ivana CERVENKOVA (since 2018)

„The most important thing in challenging gender inequalities it to translate our resolutions into credible action. Daily life is a good place to start: little can improve the lot of women in our societies more than fairer burden sharing. The current pandemic has made this even more patent: given new lockdown challenges, women have been more likely than men to reduce their working hours. Women and girls worldwide deserve the chance to grow and develop their potential – leaving their talent untapped is a major loss for society at large.“

Personal statement regarding the International Women’s Day 2021, Foto: SOCIETY

El Salvador

H.E. Julia Emma VILLATORO TARIO(since 2020)

„As a representative of President @nayibbukele to Austria, I extend warm greetings to all women on the occasion of the International Women´s Day. Our government is implementing public policies that promote equal opportunities for women. Let´s make the world a better place!“

Personal Statement regarding the International Women’s Day 2021

(c) SOCIETY/Pobaschnig


H.E. Pirkko Mirjami HÄMÄLÄINEN (since 2019)

“Don’t give up! Equality can be reached for all! We all need to work for that.”

Personal message from H.E. Pirkko Mirjami Hämäläinen regarding the International Women’s Day, Photo: HBF/Trippolt

Georgia: H.E. Ketevan TSIKHELASHVILI (since 2020)

(c) SOCIETY/Karakan


H.E. Catherine KOIKA (since 2019)

On this International Women’s Day, we all need to remember once again that women at all levels, in all cultures, in all areas of the world still bear the greatest burden: they face too many obstacles and structural barriers on their way and they continue to be targets of gender-based stereotyping, discrimination and injustice.

Let us take up the challenge and pledge with renewed determination to bridge gender gaps, to tackle violence, to overcome entrenched prejudice, to advance on women’s opportunities and empowerment and to finally create an inclusive world, where girls will not be taught that they must dream smaller than boys.

Let us raise a strong voice and send a clear message that equality and dignity are women’s inalienable rights!

H.E. Catherine Koika’s personal statement regarding the Internationale Women’s Day, Photo: (c) Terenzio Scano


H.E. Leena Nayef Shaher AL HADID (since 2018)

„Education helps eradicate gender inequalities because it empowers women to respond to challenges and aspire to achieve their dreams. Education helps women understand their rights in society. Eliminating all forms of discrimination against women are fundamental human rights and United Nations values. Education yields many benefits, from personal achievements to self-awareness and satisfaction. Enormous achievements globally and in the Arab world prove the crucial role women play in various fields thanks to education. The story of Abeer Al Bawab, the Jordanian scientist-awardee of the IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) 2021 Distinguished Women in Chemistry, is no exception. I applaud the tireless efforts and endless triumphant stories of women whose legacies have paved the way for where we are today. If we are to create an inclusive, prosperous and sustainable future for all, education is our best choice.”

Photo: SOCIETY/Salas Torrero

Latvia: H.E. Veronika ERTE (since 2017)

(c) Schwarz/HBF


I.D. Maria-Pia KOTHBAUER Prinzessin v.u.z.L. (since 1997)

„[…] Seit meiner über 30 Jahre im diplomatischen Dienst, sind sehr viel mehr Frauen in sämtlichen Bereichen der Diplomatie tätig. Und nicht nur sie, sondern auch Politikerinnen sind heute fast schon selbstverständlich Mütter, die Beruf und Familie gut vereinbaren.

Interview mit SOCIETY 2018, Foto: SOCIETY


H.E. Natasha Meli DAUDEY (since 2018)

Gender equality is not about taking away the rights of men and boys. It is about empowering women and girls and giving them access to the same opportunities. The world would be more prosperous if and when everyone was allowed to develop their full potential. This is why it is our collective responsibility to challenge the inequalities that are a result of the stereotypes and the unconscious biases many of us grew up with. We need to invest more in education and engage men and boys as allies in this plight.

To all the girls around the world : Believe – in yourself not as the inferior sex but as an equal one –  Learn, Aspire, and you will Achieve.

Photo: SOCIETY/Salas-Torrero

Mongolia: H.E. Battungalag Gankhuurai (since 2017)

Today, on International Women’s Day, we join the world in paying tribute to women – all over the world – for their invaluable contribution to prosperity of all societies.

About 100 years ago a Mongolian stateswoman N.Yanjmaa said „We shall encourage every person to enjoy equal right to freedom without gender discrimination. With a view to building stronger foundation for future prosperity we should take an active part in all public affairs like men …“ We shall consolidate our efforts to that end. 



H.E. Nada KRUGER (since 2019)

„[…] I think that research on gender roles might indicate that men are more career oriented while women have a more holistic approach. Women are very inclusive and they want to bring everyone on board. I think that men and women nowadays can do exactly the same things. We have many opportunities as women, more than we used to have and I think we make extremely good use of them. For me, it depends on the skill set of a person, which can be influenced by many different factors like the environment you grow up in, education, personal experience, exposure and so on. All of this contributes to how we approach things. I do think though that when we have family, female Ambassadors have to face a “double challenge” as we have to manage our family life and the Embassy at the same time.“

Interview with SOCIETY in 2019, Photo: SOCIETY/Prokofieff

New Zealand

H.E. Nicole Jocelyn ROBERTON (since 2017)

„[…] I think it is very important that our employers, governments and institutions empower women by putting structures in place – including childcare support – so that women can manage the different demands that lie on them. In my case it’s not difficult because I do have the right structures in place – I have help at home which makes a real difference. […]“

Interview with SOCIEY in 2017, Photo: HBF


H.E. Kjersti Ertresvaag ANDERSEN (since 2018 )

„Equal distribution of power and influence through participation are important for many reasons: It is fair, it is democratic and it provides the opportunity for all views to be included. We have for instance seen this very clearly in peace processes. If we include women, their experiences and views, in the process, chances of reaching a more sustainable peace agreement, increase. I would also say that the experience from my country on this matter is very telling. We had our first female Prime Minister in 1981 and when she formed her second government in 1986, eight of her eighteen ministers were women. This government started working on issues that previous governments had not been equally engaged in. Access to affordable childcare increased greatly, enabling both parents to work, parental leave was extended from three months to one year and parental leave for men was introduced. Women brought these issues to the table because we have different experiences and saw the necessity of addressing these issues politically. […] In politics as well as in the diplomatic sphere, it is essential that all views reach the table, all voices be heard, as it improves our policies and decisions.“

Interview with SOCIETY 2019, Photo: SOCIETY/Prokofieff


H.E. Jolanta Roza KOZLOWSKA (since 2017)

„[…] Heutzutage sind jüngere Frauen selbstbewusst. Es ist gut, dass die Frauen selbst entscheiden, welchen Weg sie gehen. Die Familie ist trotz allem wichtig und wir brauchen und fördern sie in der Politik. Die jetzige Regierung investiert in die Familie und man spürt schon  erste positive Tendenzen. Mit einer guten Infrastruktur beispielsweise kann man Frauen und Müttern helfen, damit Berufliches und Familiäres einander nicht  zu kollidieren, dass Frauen gleiche Rechte wie Männer haben, das ist für mich selbstverständlich.“

Foto: SOCIETY/Pobaschnig

San Marino

H.E. Elena MOLARONI (since 2008)

„[…] I think women are certainly very good at multitasking and we are more conciliatory. I believe that more women in politics and in the diplomatic field would certainly bring more peace to the world. We can always find a compromise and we are always looking for solutions. It would certainly improve the world situation, if more women were present in the political and diplomatic life.“

„[…]I do not agree that women should take care of women’s rights – I think men should also bring forward this issue, take action and be more involved in this topic.“

Interview with SOCIETY in 2018, Photo: SOCIETY/Salas-Torrero


H.E. Ksenija SKRILEC (since 2017)

Ich würde schon sagen, dass Frauen intuitiver sind. Bei einer erfolgreichen Diplomatie kommt es darauf an, den anderen zu verstehen um zu einem Konsens zu kommen. Da braucht man die Fähigkeit zuzuhören, zu verstehen und die richtigen Botschaften weiterzuleiten – ich denke, dass Frauen das besser können.“

„[…] Eine Frau zu sein ist kein Nachteil, sondern ein Vorteil. […] Der Vorteil einer Botschafterin  kann auch folgender sein: Manchmal gibt es einen Überraschungseffekt, weil von einer Frau immer noch einiges nicht erwartet wird, wenn eine Frau dann aber alles kann, ist das für sie und das Land, das sie vertritt, ein großer Vorteil.“

Interview mit SOCIETY 2018, Foto: HBF/Minich

Spain: H.E. Cristina FRAILE JIMENEZ DE MUNANA (since 2020)

(c) Photo: Nacho Gomez


H.E. Mikaela Ruth Gunilla KUMLIN GRANIT (since 2018)

„[…] In Sweden, we have a policy based on what we call „the three R’s“: First, the rights – we think that equality is not only a women’s right but a human right and something the whole society can profit from. The second one is representation: pushing for women’s representation in everything from panel discussions to being part of peace negotiations. Women should participate in decision-making processes and fill higher positions in order to create a more critical mass. The third R stands for resources, which means that money needs to be invested in certain policies and measures. There are three more things that are very important in order to successfully promote equality: It has to come from the top, you have to have political support and luckily, we had this with our foreign minister as well as with our prime minister. Secondly, you have to aim for the moon, which means that you need to have very high ambitions. Finally yet importantly, you have to make actual policies so real change can happen.“

Interview with SOCIETY in 2019, Photo: SOCIETY/Prokofieff

Thailand: H.E. Morakot SRISWASDI

„Gender inequality is a result of discriminatory actions not a destiny. With perseverance and mindfulness, women can reverse course of action and take the helm of their own destiny.“

Personal Statement for the International Women’s Day 2021

Photo Thai Embassy Vienna