The number of women diplomats in Washington has jumped five-fold since the 1990s, thanks, in part, to Hillary Clinton. Washington-watchers and female diplomats say the rise of female politicians like Clinton has opened doors for a new cadre of women. "Hillary is so visible," Mozambique ambassador Amelia Matos Sumbana tells the Washington Post. "She makes it easier for presidents to pick a woman for Washington."
Women are still a distinct minority, holding just five of 182 spots, and some wonder if their rise reflects a shift away from diplomacy, toward defense. But Madeleine Albright, for one, dismisses detractors who worry about an increased focus on so-called "soft" issues: "These issues are often the hardest issues: poverty, discrimination, education, and health."