New Protocol Director addresses trials facing women envoys

Protocol Director Anna Clunes

Foreign ministries need to be pro-active in encouraging women to apply for senior positions and should put in place family-friendly policies if more women are to rise to the top in diplomacy, the newly-appointed Director of Protocol Anna Clunes told a meeting of senior women diplomats (to see images please click here).

Speaking at the WDS AGM, Ms Clunes touched on the challenges of balancing work and family life and said a support network was essential. She commended the WDS for creating a supportive network for women with the aim of assisting talented young female diplomats in their careers.

Ms Clunes’s own career began in Poland and from there she worked at the UN and the EU after which she was seconded to the Cabinet Office to work for Prime Minister Gordon Brown. She then headed the Communications and Engagement Department before taking on her role as Director of Protocol.

Referring to the challenges ahead in her new position, Ms Clunes predicted further spending cuts and said her directorate would have to “try to do more with less.”

She added she wanted “honest” feedback from missions about its performance.

One special plea from women diplomats was to revise the current work permit system for diplomatic domestic servants which had led to complications in obtaining ‘nanny visas’ because the rules were constantly changing and the UKBA was uncooperative.

Women diplomats said this was a hindrance to their professional work and appealed to Ms Clunes for the FCO to resume control of the issuing of such work permits.


Chair and membership coordinator
HE Ruth Elizabeth Rouse (Grenada)

Vice Chairs – HE Perla Perdomo (Belize), HE Francine Baron (Dominica), HE Elizabeth Harding (Gambia), HE Aloun Ndombet Assamba (Jamaica), HE Asta Skaisgiryte Liauskiene (Lithuania),
HE Marie-Pierre Lloyd (Seychelles)

CEO – Rosalie Rivett

Secretary – Althea Vanderpoole Banahene (Antigua & Barbuda)
Deputy Secretary – Linda Kalimba (Rwanda)

Treasurer – Janet Charles (Dominica)
Deputy Treasurer – Freshta Omer (Afghanistan)

Events Committee Chair – Dr Yvonne Thompson CBE Events Committee Members – Francine Beleyi, Nickesha Smith (Trinidad & Tobago) Yolla Sharon Lewis (Guyana)

Media – Tanya Hulse (Belize)