This Thursday, Pope Francis named Francesca Di Giovanni the Undersecretary of Multilateral Affairs for the Secretariat of State, an important Vatican office. Di Giovanni will be the first woman to hold a management position in the Roman Catholic Church.
Leadership positions in the Vatican are largely male-dominated, in part because many are reserved for priests, bishops, or cardinals–roles that are only accessible to men. Nevertheless, Pope Francis has expressed intentions to elevate more women to decision-making roles in the church, citing women’s predisposition towards peaceful resolutions as useful in conducting international affairs. Di Giovanni’s appointment is Pope Francis’s first significant step in accomplishing this goal.
Throughout her career, Di Giovanni has specialized in international law regarding migrants and refugees. As the Undersecretary of Multilateral Affairs, Di Giovanni will manage a team that administers relations between the Vatican and intergovernmental organizations like the United Nations, with special attention to economic development, environmental protection, and empowering women internationally.
Sources: The Boston Globe 1/15/20; NPR 1/15/20; Vatican News 1/15/20