A reassuring and positive trend of more female diplomats and officers in Pakistan shows us how the proverbial glass ceiling is becoming brittle day by day. A report in this newspaper pointed out how more women are stepping forward to compete their male counterparts for promotions and other advancement in work. There was a time when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other governmental institutions were playgrounds meant for boys only, but now it’s changing with at least six women officers employed in the top echelon at the Foreign Ministry headquarters. These women head affairs in key divisions including Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas. Clearly, male officers have serious competition.

Data obtained from MOFA’s personnel division reveals that out of 490 serving officers, 68 are women which compromise of 14% of the total officer strength. The pre-existing status quo that dictated that women be relegated to the boundaries and expectations of domesticated roles only is now being questioned through an increment of more women officers, counselors, director-generals and ambassadors. This gradual influx of women in professionally challenging environments like the Foreign Ministry provides an encouraging precedent for more women to apply and shatter gender roles defined strictly by society.

Most importantly, this report from MOFA proves that while we may not be in the best shape as a nation – our issues go beyond unfortunate,  and border on uncontrollably chaotic – we still know how to do some things well. It serves no one – least of all our country – to limit the potential and agency of women to outdated concepts of frail femininity. It only makes sense in this dynamic age of progress and diligence wherein women have joined the ranks of military and bureaucracy throughout the world that our ministries continue to appoint erudite and compelling women at the same level men are. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs seems to be on the right path in this respect, and deserves every appreciation.