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Jakarta Post

Family support key for women diplomats in breaking glass ceiling

  • Sita W. Dewi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, July 2 2018   /  12:39 am

When President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo appointed career diplomat Retno LP Marsudi as the foreign minister in his Cabinet, a thick glass ceiling was broken.

Retno is the first woman to assume the post, the country’s highest diplomatic position and one that had long been held by men. This does not mean, however, that all women diplomats in Indonesia have smooth sailing ahead.

Working women generally face similar challenges in balancing family and work. For women diplomats, however, the obstacles they face are often greater, given the nature of their work.

Despite a massive campaign for gender equality, a more conservative segment of Indonesian society still finds it odd for a husband to put his career on hold to “follow” his wife abroad, a situation that every woman diplomat must face at some point in their career.

As holders of diplomatic passports, dep...