Inclusion rather than exclusion: What is feminist foreign policy?

mural with women, girls holding protest signs, and a deer above them

Mural of the artist Hera of Herakut for the International Women's Day 2022, © Janine Schmitz/photothek.de

03.05.2022 - Article

Feminist foreign policy is based on the conviction that gender equity and equal participation are preconditions for long-term peace and security in the world.

In this context, the Federal Foreign Office applies the formula “3R+D”: the aim is to promote the rights, representation and resources of women and marginalised groups, as well as to enhance diversity.

In other words, feminist foreign policy describes first and foremost the way in which we want to work together in foreign, security and development policy in future.

Feminist foreign policy is everyone’s business

Feminist foreign policy is not a policy “by women for women”. In early March, in response to a question about whether only women were going to have a say in the Federal Foreign Office from now on, Foreign Minister Baerbock said:

No, quite the contrary. A feminist foreign policy isn’t about excluding, but about including people. This isn’t a question of hearing fewer voices, but MORE voices – all the voices of society. And feminist foreign policy is not a “women’s issue”.
Because we all benefit!

If half of the population are unable to have their say as equals, no society can fully attain its potential.
And if half of the world’s population are excluded, we cannot ensure peace and security in the long term.

Germany has long been committed both in foreign and in development policy to advancing the rights and equal participation of women, children and marginalised groups, to ensuring protection against sexual violence and to eliminating discrimination. So these aspects are not new. The fundamental difference between our engagement to date and the instituting of a feminist foreign policy lies in looking at the root causes – and in the way the staff of the Federal Foreign Office will approach their work in future.

Germany will work even more deliberately towards gender equality – for example by supporting projects designed to protect against gender-based violence, to educate girls and young women and to support women entrepreneurs. The Federal Government will pay even greater attention to gender equality in its work. It will ensure that women in all their diversity are represented in negotiations, project plans, conferences and consultations. It regards its feminist foreign policy as a cross-cutting task; in other words, it takes note of the overlaps and interconnections between various vulnerabilities.

Developing a feminist foreign policy for the Federal Republic of Germany

The concept of feminist foreign policy is not new. Other countries, prime among them Sweden, have been pursuing such a policy for years.

In the coming months, the Federal Foreign Office will work with international partners, experts and civil-society representatives to define precisely what shape a German feminist foreign policy will take. However, it is the input from the staff of the Federal Foreign Office both in Germany and abroad that will be crucial for developing a strategy. They in particular are invited to feed their ideas and suggestions into the process.


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