Elect woman for Commonwealth SG

First Lady Kim Simplis Barrow and WDS Chair Seychelles
High Commissioner Marie Pierre Lloyd

The wife of the Prime Minister of Belize has called on Commonwealth heads of government to elect a woman Secretary General ahead of the CHOGM in Malta.

Speaking at the AGM of the Women in Diplomatic Service at the Jamaican High Commission, Mrs Kim Simplis Barrow said that an organisation that claims to promote gender equality should elect a women to lead it.

Unofficially it is the turn of the Caribbean to put forward a candidate but leaders have been unable to come to a consensus over which candidate should represent the region.

Of the three in the running, only one, former UK Attorney General, Dominican-born Baroness Patricia Scotland, is a woman.

Meanwhile the African states have put forward a candidate, Ms Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba from Botswana, a former deputy secretary general of the Commonwealth.

Ms Simplis Barrow said more should be done to promote women in leadership positions. She has been commended for her work as special envoy for women and children in Belize and she is involved in creating a forum for first ladies so that they can use their influence to effect positive change in their countries.

In her address to the AGM she said diplomacy was still a “man’s world” quoting an Embassy survey that only 15% of heads of mission globally are female. She praised efforts of the WDS to promote young women diplomats through its scholarship programme.

WDS scholarship programme
At the AGM it was announced that scholars will be given a place at the Academy of Diplomacy and International Governance of Loughborough University. Professor Nabil Ayad of the academy, an early promoter of a diplomatic network for women in London, said women were “under-represented” in the profession. CEO Rosalie Rivett thanked him for making the place available and said the Academy’s students would be welcome at WDS events.

New WDS Committee
The WDS Chair is the Seychelles High Commissioner, Marie Pierre Lloyd; Rosalie Rivett stays on as CEO as does the Treasurer Althea Vanderpoole Banahene, Acting High Commissioner of Antigua and Barbuda; the Secretary is Sheena Chan (Singapore) and the Lesotho High Commissioner Mrs Felleng ‘Mamakeka Makeka heads up the events committee. Embassy Editor Elizabeth Stewart will assist with publicity of the WDS.