Gendering South Africa's Foreign Policy: Toward a Feminist Approach?


Haastrup, Toni. 2020. “Gendering South Africa’s Foreign Policy: Toward a Feminist Approach?” Foreign Policy Analysis 16 (2): 199–216.

Author: Toni Haastrup


South Africa's leadership has sought ethical foreign policy since the advent of democracy. This foreign policy outlook focuses on the African continent and includes certain articulations of pro-gender justice norms. In this article, I reflect on the extent to which South Africa's foreign policy embraces these norms as part of its foreign apparatus and practices. It takes at its starting point the nascent literature on feminist foreign policy applied to South Africa, which shares similarities to countries in the Global North that claim a feminist orientation to foreign policy. Moreover, it takes account of gender dynamics at the domestic level and how they are manifested in foreign policy discourses and practices, particularly in the understanding and implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security agenda. Utilizing qualitative content analysis, this article provides context and meaning for how gender concerns have evolved in South Africa's foreign policy, including the role of certain norm entrepreneurs in shaping the gender narrative. The article concludes that the domestic context is important to shaping and limiting how a country can enact feminist foreign policy. Importantly, the South African case provides a Global South dimension to the nascent scholarship.

Topics: Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Justice, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2020

© 2023 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at