What is Feminist Foreign Policy? An Explanatory Evaluation of Foreign Policy in OECD Countries


Alwan, Christine, and S. Laurel Weldon. 2017. “What is Feminist Foreign Policy? An Explanatory Evaluation of Foreign Policy in OECD Countries.” Paper prepared for 2017 European Conference on Politics and Gender, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Authors: Christine Alwan, S. Laurel Weldon


In 2015, Sweden’s foreign affairs minister boldly acclaimed that the state had a feminist foreign policy, with rights, representation, and resources at its core (Patel 2015). While these criteria may be a helpful for understanding the variety of issues foreign policy makers must consider to develop and implement gender equitable policy, they do not provide a specific framework for a feminist foreign policy theory. We hope to address this lack of specificity by drawing on existing theories of foreign policy and feminist IR.  We argue why the idea of a feminist foreign policy is radical given the nature of international politics, state militaries, and government actors. We point to the symbiotic relationship between militarism and masculinity with militarism and the state. This androcentric view of international politics does not adequately address the ways in which women’s lives affect and are affected by foreign policy decisions. We hope that these initial discussions will help both policy scholars and practitioners develop and incorporate a feminist theory of foreign policy into foreign policy decision-making.

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Militarism, Rights

Year: 2017

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