Since the political appointment in 1971 of Dame Annabelle Rankin as Australia’s high commissioner to New Zealand—the first female head of mission in the history of Australia’s foreign service—57 women have filled 80 appointments as heads of Australian diplomatic missions and posts. In 2006, 23 per cent of such positions around the world were held by women. The current status of women in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the culmination of more than six decades of advances for women in Australia diplomacy and in Australian society more broadly. Women with a Mission: personal perspectives contains nine stories by women who headed missions and posts from 1983 to 2006; each of whom has taken a unique path. Their contributions provide a valuable insights into the demands and rewards, professional and personal, of undertaking a career in Australia’s diplomatic service.