Saggi di Dodis

Saggi di Dodis 1 (2019/4)

Eva Kocher

Gender and the Concours Diplomatique: On the Recruitment of Switzerland’s First Generation of Female Diplomats

This article examines women’s integration in the Swiss diplomatic service from 1956 to the early 1970s, after the service’s reform and following the introduction of the concours diplomatique, and it relates this process to modern diplomacy’s professionalization at an international level. Why, in Switzerland, were women admitted to the newly created recruitment procedure at a time when they still lacked basic civil rights such as suffrage? A qualitative analysis of administrative documents such as examination committee minutes, correspondence, reports, and notes shows how strongly marked by gender bias both the new recruitment process and professional life in the diplomatic service were, particularly when it came to questions of marriage and family, but also regarding different allocation of professional responsibilities, and even different treatment in relation to security issues.