The International Day of the Girl Child 2018 respectfully draws attention for the need to support today’s generation of girls as they enter the world of work, both in terms of education and skills, and the human right to protection from discrimination and violence.

Launched in 2015, DFAT’s Women in Leadership Strategy tackles barriers to women’s career progression in the department, and seeks to enable all staff to reach their full potential. The Strategy applies to all staff, both Australian and locally engaged at one of our many overseas posts, and aims to ensure that all staff feel included, valued and inspired to do their best.

Sesparlu Batch 18 with Former Indonesian Foreign Minister Dr Marty Natalegawa.

As one of the 13 members of Sesparlu Batch 18 — the Indonesian foreign ministry’s diplomatic training program — I had the privilege to be part of the program’s tenth anniversary intake with other diplomats from the Indo-Pacific.

Although Serbia is a European country, the sanctions of the 1990s and poor growth since have had a devastating effect on the quality of life for many people. Every second woman in rural Serbia is formally unemployed and the statistics are even worse for older women and women from disadvantaged groups.

At a time when women were struggling to be recognised in the Commonwealth Public Service, Beryl Wilson was a trailblazer. I personally find her a strong role model and inspiration.

There are many courageous Bangladeshi women leading and advocating for empowerment, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself. Yet, in a deeply religious and patriarchal society, too many women and girls continue to face a brutal reality.

On International Women’s Day, DFAT’s South-East Asia Mainland and Regional Division reflects on how women have shaped and inspired their work. The result is an important and diverse set of reflections from a group of skilled and bold women.