Defining Feminist Foreign Policy

Authored by: Lyric Thompson and Rachel Clement

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Democratization and Political Participation
Country: Sweden, Canada, France
Region: Europe and Eurasia
Year: 2019
Citation: Thompson , Lyric, and Rachel Clement. Defining Feminist Foreign Policy. International Center for Research on Women, 2019.

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Executive Summary

What is feminist foreign policy? What definition can capture its complexity, its nuances? And how do we ensure the focus is not just on women but on power relations and gender equality more broadly, using an explicitly rights-based and intersectional understanding of feminism?

This brief takes a closer look at the world’s few existing “feminist” (Sweden, Canada, France) approaches to foreign policy, and it’s clear that there is room for improvement as we seek to influence the second wave of emerging policies. Two ways to improve: (1) push countries to increase their commitments to gender equality as a principle and funded goal; and (2) adopt a more rigorous and independent practice for monitoring, evaluation, research and learning tied to policies’ intended outcomes.

In consultations to date, the number-one term that has emerged as an essential ingredient to any definition of feminist foreign policy has been “intersectional.”