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Feminist Foreign Policy

Feminist Foreign Policy: A Framework

Citation:

Thompson, Lyric. 2020. Feminist Foreign Policy: A Framework. Washington, DC: International Center for Research on Women.

Author: Lyric Thompson

Annotation:

Summary:
"Today’s most pressing issues, and the solutions that are envisioned, are not radically different from those addressed at Beijing. The context, however, has changed. Despite measurable progress in some areas, such as girls’ education, maternal health and, increasingly, the repeal of discriminatory laws, there are new and dynamic challenges that threaten to reverse progress and rollback rights. And no country has achieved gender equality. The world faces an urgent climate crisis; persistent social, economic and political inequalities and consequential trust deficits with respect to globalization and the international institutions seen to support it; reversals of legislative protections of sexual and reproductive rights; attacks on women and LGBTQ+ human rights defenders; anemic progress on political inclusion of marginalized groups; and protracted political crises resulting in the largest forced displacement since WWII, among others. If we want to meet our human rights obligations, we cannot leave anyone behind, much less women and girls, in all their diversity.

At this moment of increased nationalism, populism and misogyny, it is time to call out backlash and call in new allies and champions for gender equality and women’s human rights, using all the tools at our disposal. As champions for gender justice from around the world prepare to honor the legacy of Beijing and launch the next generation of commitments to advance gender equality, feminist foreign policy is one tool that shows promise for taking a much-needed, intersectional and often multilateral approach to women’s rights, simultaneously addressing urgent issues such as climate change, peace and security, inclusive growth, global health and poverty alleviation. We are convinced that every country can embrace a feminist foreign policy, no matter if it is a low, middle or high-income one. At home and abroad, adopting a feminist approach could help to improve social development and reach social welfare and gender equality. Such an approach promotes inclusion, equality, peace and security, both at the international and national level.

But what is it, precisely? This framework attempts to distill a definition and a few core components of feminist foreign policy, drawing from the few examples that exist today2, as well as the insights of feminist thinkers, advocates and experts inside and outside of government. This growing collective will be formalized in the course of the Beijing+25 Generation Equality process, in hopes of informing the fledgling field of feminist foreign policy and expanding the number of countries bold enough to embrace it" (Thomspon 2020, 1).

Topics: Feminist Foreign Policy, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Intersectionality, Peace and Security, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2020

What's Feminist about Feminist Foreign Policy? Sweden's and Canada's Foreign Policy Agendas

Citation:

Thomson, Jennifer. 2020. “What's Feminist about Feminist Foreign Policy? Sweden's and Canada's Foreign Policy Agendas.” International Studies Perspectives.  doi:10.1093/isp/ekz032. 

Author: Jennifer Thomson

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
Across politics and public discourse, feminism is experiencing a global renaissance. Yet feminist academic work is divided over the burgeoning use of the term, particularly in reference to economic and international development policy. For some, feminism has been co-opted for neoliberal economic ends; for others, it remains a critical force across the globe. This article explores the nascent feminist foreign policies of Sweden and Canada. Employing a discourse analysis of both states’ policy documents, it asks what the term “feminist” meant in preliminary attempts at constructing a feminist foreign policy. It argues that although both use the term “feminist,” they understand the term very differently, with Sweden centering it in domestic and international commitments to change, while Canada places greater emphasis on the private sector. This suggests that this policy agenda is still developing its central concepts, and is thus ripe for intervention on the part of policymakers and civil society organizations.

SPANISH ABSTRACT:
A través de la política y el discurso público, el feminismo está experimentando un renacimiento global. Sin embargo, el trabajo académico feminista está dividido por el uso creciente del término, particularmente en referencia a la política de desarrollo económico e internacional. Para algunos, el feminismo ha sido cooptado para fines económicos neoliberales; para otros, sigue siendo una fuerza fundamental en todo el mundo. Este artículo analiza las incipientes políticas exteriores feministas de Suecia y Canadá. Al emplear un análisis del discurso de los documentos de las políticas de ambos estados, se pregunta qué significaba el término «feminista» en los intentos preliminares de construir una política exterior feminista. Se argumenta que si bien ambos estados usan el término «feminista», entienden el término de manera muy diferente, ya que Suecia se centra en los compromisos nacionales e internacionales de cambio, mientras que Canadá pone un mayor énfasis en el sector privado. Esto sugiere que este proyecto aún está desarrollando sus conceptos centrales; por lo tanto, es propicio para la intervención de los responsables de formular políticas y las organizaciones de la sociedad civil.

FRENCH ABSTRACT:
On assiste actuellement à une renaissance du féminisme dans la politique et le débat public à l’échelle mondiale. Cependant, les spécialistes académiques du féminisme sont divisés sur l'utilisation naissante du terme, notamment en référence à la politique économique et de développement international. Pour certains, le féminisme a été coopté à des fins économiques néolibérales ; pour d'autres, il demeure une force majeure dans le monde. Cet article étudie les politiques étrangères féministes naissantes de la Suède et du Canada. S'appuyant sur une analyse du discours de la politique des deux états, il s'interroge sur le sens entendu du terme « féministe » lors des premières tentatives d’élaboration d'une politique étrangère féministe. Il soutient que, bien que les deux états utilisent le terme « féministe », ils le comprennent de manière très différente : en effet, la Suède place le féminisme au cœur des engagements nationaux et internationaux de changement, tandis que le Canada le situe davantage dans le domaine privé. Cela suggère que cet agenda politique est encore en train de développer ses concepts centraux et que, par conséquent, le moment est venu pour les décideurs politiques et les organisations de la société civile d'intervenir.

Keywords: feminism, feminist theory, foreign policy, feminist foreign policy, sweden, Canada

Topics: Civil Society, Development, Economies, Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy Regions: Americas, North America, Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Canada, Sweden

Year: 2020

Gendering Foreign Policy: A Comparative Framework for Analysis

Citation:

Aggestam, Karin, and Jacqui True. 2020. "Gendering Foreign Policy: A Comparative Framework for Analysis." Foreign Policy Analysis 16 (2): 143-62.

Authors: Karin Aggestam, Jacqui True

Abstract:

This article seeks to explain the rise of pro-gender norms and feminist strategies in foreign policy, which are increasingly salient in global politics. How can this trend be theorized? In what ways is this development resisted and contested by other states and international actors? To what extent can we trace continuity and change in regard to gender and foreign policy? To address these major research questions and to spur cross-national comparative studies, this article advances a theoretical framework on gendering foreign policy. It draws on two strands of research, which rarely engage with one another: international feminist theory (IFT) and foreign policy analysis (FPA). We identify three ways in which comparative analysis of gender in foreign policy can be advanced: first, by highlighting the variations of pro-gender norms and enhancing the analytical assessment of cross-national trends; second, by generating a more robust explanation of the rise, embeddedness, and continuity of, as well as resistance to, pro-gender norms in foreign policy in similar and diverse contexts; and third, by examining both continuity and change in pro-gender norms in order to reveal the contestation around gender, which is at the heart of foreign policy.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Feminist Foreign Policy

Year: 2020

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

Citation:

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

Author: Toni Haastrup

Abstract:

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

Subverting Economic Empowerment: Towards a Postcolonial-Feminist Framework on Gender (In)Securities in Post-War Settings

Citation:

Martin de Almagro, Maria, and Caitlin Ryan. 2019. "Subverting Economic Empowerment: Towards a Postcolonial-Feminist Framework on Gender (In)Securities in Post-War Settings." European Journal of International Relations 25 (4): 1059-79.

Authors: Maria Martin De Almagro, Caitlin Ryan

Abstract:

This article demonstrates that the inability of the United Nations Women, Peace and Security agenda to realize greater peace and security for women in post-war states stems to a great extent from its failure to engage deeply with the materiality of women’s lives under economic empowerment projects. We argue that the Women, Peace and Security agenda reproduces a neoliberal understanding of economic empowerment that inadequately captures the reality of women’s lives in post-war settings for two reasons: first, it views formal and informal economic activities as dichotomous and separate, rather than as intertwined and constitutive of each other; and, second, it conceptualizes agency as individual, disembodied, abstract, universalizing and conforming to the requirements of the competitive pressures of the market. The article then offers a three-pronged postcolonial-feminist framework to analyse international interventions in which representation, materiality and agency are interconnected. We argue that such a framework helps understand better who is empowered in post-war economies and how they are empowered. This, in turn, makes visible how post-war economies produce gendered and racialized (in)securities that need to be addressed by the Women, Peace and Security agenda. With this, we also hope to reflect on broader international political economy concerns about the problems of making conceptual distinctions between politics and economics, and to challenge the constructed borders between materiality and discourse that have pervaded peace and conflict studies.

Keywords: discourse, feminist political economy, feminist security studies, gender, materiality, postcolonialism

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Economies, Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Gender, Women, Feminist Foreign Policy, Peace and Security, Political Economies, Post-Conflict, Race, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS

Year: 2019

Bringing Gender In? EU Foreign and Security Policy after Brexit

Citation:

Haastrup, Toni, Katharine A. M. Wright, and Roberta Guerrina. 2019. "Bringing Gender In? EU Foreign and Security Policy after Brexit." Politics and Governance 7 (3): 62-71.

Authors: Toni Haastrup, Katharine A. M. Wright, Roberta Guerrina

Abstract:

In this article, we identify Brexit as a critical process, wherein the EU has had the opportunity to reflect on and reinforce its identity, as a promoter of gender issues within the security domain. It draws on this identity from a foundational myth of the EU as gender equality polity, resulting in the creation of a socio-legal order and sustained discourse on gender inclusivity in all policy areas. Existing scholarship has drawn attention to the EU’s particular success in gender equality promotion in the areas of social inclusion at member state level, including in the UK. But, is the EU’s reach comprehensive beyond this policy sphere? We examine the ways in which gender is manifested in the area of foreign policy, an area where the UK has consistently shown some leadership on the integration of gender perspectives in its foreign policy through its international development programmes and the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. It is therefore timely to consider what impact Brexit has on EU policies, practices and the promotion of gender equality in this policy domain. Using a critical feminist lens, this article looks at the evolution of gender equality as a dimension of EU foreign and security policy in the context of EU–UK relations, and the divergences, opportunities and constraints that are crystallised by the Brexit process.

Keywords: Brexit, critical feminism, EU, foreign policy, gender, gender equality, UK, women's agency

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, UNSCR 1820 Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2019

Beyond “Market” and “State” Feminism: Gender Knowledge at the Intersections of Marketization and Securitization

Citation:

Stachowitsch, Saskia. 2019. “Beyond ‘Market’ and ‘State’ Feminism: Gender Knowledge at the Intersections of Marketization and Securitization.” Politics & Gender 15 (1): 151–73.

Author: Saskia Stachowitsch

Abstract:

This article assesses the implications of the shifting market-state relationship for feminism in the neoliberal era. In a case study of the private military and security industry as an actor that is uniquely positioned at the intersections of security governance and global markets, the analysis combines feminist security studies’ critique of securitized gender discourses and feminist global political economy scholarship on corporate-led equality initiatives. Based on a critical discourse analysis of documents from industry and nongovernmental organizations, such as codes of conduct and policy recommendations, I argue that the discourses on gender put forward in the context of security privatization merge securitized and marketized discourses to the effect that the emancipatory potential of “gender” is further curtailed, raising new challenges for feminist knowledge in powerful organizations. The article thus contributes to the critical gender research on private security, debates on the neoliberalization and securitization of feminism, and the integration of feminist security studies and feminist global political economy.

Topics: Economies, Feminist Economics, Feminisms, Feminist Political Economy, Feminist Foreign Policy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security, Security Sector Reform

Year: 2019

Gender, Militaries and Security Sector Reform

Citation:

Bastick, Megan. 2017. “Gender, Militaries and Security Sector Reform.” In The Palgrave International Handbook of Gender and the Military, edited by Rachel Woodward and Claire Duncanson, 387–402. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Author: Megan Bastick

Abstract:

Feminist scholars have been critical of policy approaches to implementing gender in security sector reform (SSR), and sceptical of their success. Nonetheless, one can find many examples of women’s organizations influencing SSR, and SSR contributing to more gender-responsive security sector institutions. SSR processes addressing armed forces should focus on the gendered aspects of personnel and operational capabilities, institutional culture and governance. Armed forces involved in international operations are increasingly mandated to undertake SSR activities, and require capabilities to address their gender dimensions. This chapter examines NATO missions’ efforts to recruit women into Afghan security forces, as highlighting some of the challenges and tensions that are illuminated by a gendered analysis of SSR.

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Governance, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Security Sector Reform Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan

Year: 2017

Contesting Feminism’s Institutional Doubles: Troubling the Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security Agenda

Citation:

Otto, Dianne. 2019. "Contesting Feminism’s Institutional Doubles: Troubling the Security Council’s Women, Peace and Security Agenda." In Governance Feminism: Notes from the Field, edited by Janet Halley, Prabha Kotiswaran, Rachel Rebouché, and Hila Shamir, 200-29. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Author: Diane Otto

Annotation:

Summary:
“I start by examining the Security Council’s preoccupation with sexual violence in four of the eight WPS resolutions, which is also a feature of GF elsewhere in international law and institutions. I argue that, in this context, the focus on women’s sexual vulnerability has enabled a consolidation of protective stereotypes of women that underpin and justify military ways of thinking, which reassert what Iris Marion Young has described as the 'logic of masculinist protection,' which does a lot of useful symbolic work for the Security Council, while seriously undermining feminist logics of social justice and peace. Next, I discuss the other four WPS resolutions, which I refer to as the 'women’s empowerment resolutions.' While these resolutions are also informed by SV GF in their attention to sexual violence, my argument is that they have also created footholds for other strands of feminist thinking— informed by postcolonial, materialist, and queer perspectives— to challenge the power of GF to dictate institutional feminist priorities. I then go on to argue that despite the dominance of SV GF, more transformative feminist ideas are slowly gaining ground because of the vision and activism of grassroots feminist groups, organized often through regional and international NGOs like WILPF and the NGO Working Group. The tenacity of bottom-up feminist logics of social justice and peace is evident in the Global Study, which was undertaken to mark the fifteenth anniversary of the adoption of SCR 1325, and the Civil Society Survey that was commissioned to inform the study. I conclude that grassroots activism, though vital, is not enough. For feminist logics of social justice and peace to make inroads into international institutions by re-signifying discursive institutional practices, support from 'friends' within governmental and legal institutions is necessary, which always involves compromise and retrenchment and, in the contemporary moment, a reckoning with SV GF. Even then, feminist logics may be lost in translation, but this is a continuing struggle” (Otto 2019, 203-4).

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, International Law, International Organizations, NGOs, Peacebuilding, Sexual Violence, SV against women, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325

Year: 2019

Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy Promises: An Ambitious Agenda for Gender Equality, Human Rights, Peace, and Security

Citation:

Tiessen, Rebecca, and Emma Swan. 2018. “Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy Promises: An Ambitious Agenda for Gender Equality, Human Rights, Peace, and Security.” In Justin Trudeau and Canadian Foreign Policy, edited by Norman Hillmer and Philippe Lagassé. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan.

Authors: Rebecca Tiessen, Emma Swan

Abstract:

In June 2017, the Liberal government launched its first Feminist International Assistance Policy, setting a course for an ambitious agenda for the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. A renewed commitment to human rights and gender equality became evident in the early days of the Trudeau government with a series of events that placed gender equality at the center of national and international commitments. This chapter traces the numerous steps toward a feminist foreign policy between 2015 and 2017, with attention to how this strategy diverges from previous Canadian governments. Civil society organization (CSO) reactions to these early promises of improved gender equality programming are examined, particularly in relation to peace and security efforts abroad. Feminist international relations and foreign policy scholarships have long argued for a feminist foreign policy. In this chapter, the contributions of this feminist scholarship are analyzed in relation to the discursive, rhetorical, and feminist policy commitments observed to date. (SpringerLink)

Topics: Development, Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Peace and Security, Rights, Human Rights Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Canada

Year: 2018

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