Female “Diplomats” in Europe from 1815 to the Present

Alexandra Kollontai (1872-1952), in the office of the Soviet legation in Oslo, 1923.


Excluded from politics, women intruded upon the secrecy of diplomacy in the fashionable gatherings of the Congress of Vienna in 1815, in intellectual salons, and from 1830 onward in embassies within the shadows of their husbands. After the Great War, the diplomatic profession gradually opened up to women, although the resistance of men, who saw diplomacy as their domain, explains the slow pace of feminization in the profession.