What is feminist foreign policy?

A feminist approach to foreign policy incorporates principles of equality, non-discrimination, and justice into a government’s foreign relationships.  It emphasizes human rights as the central focus of international affairs and assigns states the responsibility to safeguard the human rights of all. Feminist foreign policies promote non-violence and demilitarization.  States with feminist foreign policies commit to transparency and accountability in their programs and practices. 

Which countries have feminist foreign policies?

In 2014, Sweden was the first country to commit to a feminist foreign policy under the leadership of its Foreign Affairs Minister Margot Wallström.  Canada (2017), France (2019), Luxembourg (2019), and Mexico (2020) have also promised to observe feminist principles in their foreign policy practices.  

What are some examples of feminist foreign policies?

Specific feminist policies include commitments such as: educating girls and women on an equal basis with boys and men; guaranteeing access to sexual and reproductive health services; ensuring equal representation in foreign service positions of women and men in all their diversity; incorporating women into peace negotiations and processes; and pursuing climate-friendly policies. Feminist foreign policies prioritize people, peace, and the planet.  

Has the US committed to a feminist foreign policy?

While the US has not committed to a feminist foreign policy, it has taken steps recommended by the Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the US, led by the International Center for Research on Women.  In 2021, for example, the Biden administration inaugurated the White House Gender Policy Council to oversee efforts towards advancing gender equality.  In the US Congress, Rep. Jackie Speier (CA), together with Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI), Rep. Lois Frankel (FL), and Rep. Barbara Lee (CA) introduced a resolution calling on the US to commit to a feminist foreign policy.  Their resolution (H.Res.196) has garnered over 40 co-sponsors.  The US Women’s Caucus at the UN is a member of the Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy. 


U.S. Feminist Foreign Policy: Update and Significance

Handbook, Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy (pdf)

Toward a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States (pdf)

Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States

H.Res.196, Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives regarding the importance of taking a feminist approach to all aspects of foreign policy

Toward a Feminist Foreign Policy for the US: A Midterm Review of the Biden-Harris Administration

Submitted by Susan Lee