It’s still rare for top diplomatic postings to go to women, but things are changing. Livia Leu, who since September has represented Switzerland in France and Monaco, agrees. Swiss public television, RTS, accompanied her during her first day at work in Paris.
Men cover the portrait wall of Leu’s predecessors. She is the first woman to get the job in the city where she did her apprenticeship in the diplomatic services almost 30 years ago.
Leu is well-known in the Swiss diplomatic corps. She is one of the few women at the top level. In 2009, the then Foreign Affairs Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey sent her to Tehran, where she represented the interests of Switzerland and the United States, because Switzerland has served as the United States’ protecting power in Iran since 1980.
She also is the Federal Council’s delegate for trade deals and head of the bilateral economic relations section in the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
There are currently 155 ambassadors working for the foreign ministry, 30 of whom are women. Of these women, 21 work abroad in embassies, consulates, cooperation offices and missions; nine work in Bern.