Pro-Gender Foreign Policy by Stealth: Navigating Global and Domestic Politics in Australian Foreign Policy Making


Lee-Koo, Katrina. 2020. “Pro-Gender Foreign Policy by Stealth: Navigating Global and Domestic Politics in Australian Foreign Policy Making.” Foreign Policy Analysis 16 (2): 236–49

Author: Katrina Lee-Koo


As a middle-power nation, Australia promotes its global effectiveness, in part, through the adoption of international norms. Among those that it has more recently embraced has been pro-gender norms. The inclusion— for the first time—of gender equality considerations into overarching strategic doctrines, and the development of stand-alone gender strategies demonstrates this. While this is not without its shortcomings and contradictions, it is evidence that Australia is allowing feminist design to underpin areas of its foreign policy. However, unlike other states, this is not publicly emphasized. In fact, it is as if these policies were developed by stealth. This article examines the depth of Australia’s commitment to pro-gender norms in foreign policy. It argues that there is a genuine embrace of progender norms, but the masculinist cultures of Australia’s politics limit the capacity for it to be publicly debated and celebrated.

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Masculinism, International Organizations, Peace and Security Regions: Oceania Countries: Australia

Year: 2020

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