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Feminist Foreign Policy

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

Is the Future of Foreign Policy Feminist?

Citation:

Thompson, Lyric, and Rachel Clement. 2019. “Is the Future of Foreign Policy Feminist?” Seton Hall Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations 20 (2): 76–94.

Authors: Lyric Thompson, Rachel Clement

Annotation:

Summary:
“In 2014, Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallström took the world by storm when she launched the world's first explicitly feminist foreign policy. The new policy would be a way of doing things differently in Sweden's international affairs, organizing its approach to diplomacy, development, and defense under a 3 Rs framework of women's rights, resources, and representation, the latter of which this journal issue seeks to explore.

“How did this come to be? For Sweden, it was not just the future of diplomacy that was female; it was the past and present as well. Sweden's parliamentary representation has hovered near parity for some time. It has also boasted a long line of female foreign ministers dating back to the 1970s. Thus, there was a strong historical precedent of women's leadership that had normalized female power in such a way as to enable the country to offer something unique to the world: a feminist foreign policy” (Thompson and Clement 2019, 76).

Topics: Development, Feminist Foreign Policy, Governance, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2019

Feminist Foreign Policy: A Fine Line Between ‘Adding Women’ and Pursuing a Feminist Agenda

Citation:

Scheyer, Victoria, and Marina Kumskova. 2019. “Feminist Foreign Policy: A Fine Line Between ‘Adding Women’ and Pursuing a Feminist Agenda.” Journal of International Affairs 72 (2): 57–76.

Authors: Victoria Scheyer , Marina Kumskova

Abstract:

The proliferation of feminist foreign policies has become a sign of commitment to another world order. Governments that adopt such action envision a world where women’s rights are equally important to those of men. They commit to empowering women and ensuring their meaningful participation across various issues. Such commitments, therefore, are understood as the objectives of a feminist foreign policy. This article explains that, while a commitment to women’s rights is important, the current practices of purportedly feminist foreign policies do not reflect an authentically feminist approach. We look into the theoretical background of feminist analysis in international relations, propose criteria for a feminist foreign policy based on feminist theory, and use these criteria to analyze and conduct gap analysis of existing feminist foreign policies. Overall, this study helps unpack the definition of feminist foreign policy and highlight areas that can be addressed by those willing to commit to redefining security and peace in the current world order.

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Gender Analysis, Peace and Security, Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2019

Praise or Critique? Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy in the Eyes of its Fellow EU Members

Citation:

Rosén Sundström, Malena, and Ole Elgström. 2019. “Praise or Critique? Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy in the Eyes of its Fellow EU Members.” European Politics and Society, September 11. https://doi.org/10.1080/23745118.2019.1661940.

Authors: Malena Rosén Sundström, Ole Elgström

Abstract:

In 2014, the Swedish Government proclaimed that it would pursue a Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP). This initiative illustrates Sweden’s role as a norm entrepreneur, challenging predominant normative frames by enhancing existing gender equality norms. Our article is a first attempt to investigate how other state actors perceive the legitimacy, coherence and effectiveness of this policy innovation. The focus is on the perceptions of diplomatic representatives from other European Union member states. The article is based on a survey and in-depth interviews with officials at member state permanent representations. Our findings demonstrate that it is well-known that Sweden pursues a feminist foreign policy, though knowledge is often superficial. Overall, the FFP is positively perceived. Sweden is generally regarded as a leader in the promotion of gender norms. There are, however, also critical voices. In some countries, the word ‘feminist’ evokes negative reactions. While most respondents think the FFP has had a positive effect on Sweden’s international image, less are convinced that other states will follow suit. The current context, with nationalism and populism on the rise, is not seen as appropriate for pursuing a FFP. Sweden’s success as a norm entrepreneur in this field is thus questioned.

Keywords: feminist foreign policy, sweden, European Union, perceptions, norms

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, International Organizations, Nationalism Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2019

Feminist Foreign Policy as Ethical Foreign Policy? A Care Ethics Perspective

Citation:

Robinson, Fiona. 2019. “Feminist Foreign Policy as Ethical Foreign Policy? A Care Ethics Perspective.” Journal of International Political Theory, February 25. https://doi.org/10.1177/1755088219828768

Author: Fiona Robinson

Abstract:

This article argues that a liberal cosmopolitan approach to feminist foreign policy reproduces existing relations of power, including gender power relations and Western liberal modes of domination. I suggest that a critical feminist ethic of care offers a potentially radical and transformative account of ethics as a basis for a transnational feminism – one that reveals and troubles the binary gender norms that constitute the international and which exposes the ways in which patriarchal orders uphold political hierarchies that obstruct the building of empathy and repairing of relationship. To illustrate this argument, I address the recent diplomatic crises faced by Sweden and Canada in their relationships with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Policymakers and diplomats must aim to build understanding by recognizing the material and discursive factors that have constructed, over time, the relationships between Saudi Arabia and Sweden/Canada, as well as the ways in which patriarchal structures – across the globe and at multiple scales – hinder the possibility of attentive listening and connection across borders. It is only through the prism of this relationship – where difference takes on meaning – that the more complex role of Western states in the contemporary system of transnational militarism is revealed.

Keywords: care, cosmopolitanism, ethics, feminism, foreign policy, post-colonialism

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equality/Inequality

Year: 2019

Labour’s International Development Policy: Internationalism, Globalisation, and Gender

Citation:

Riley, Charlotte Lydia. 2019. “Labour’s International Development Policy: Internationalism, Globalisation, and Gender.” Renewal: A Journal of Social Democracy 27 (1): 52-7.

Author: Charlotte Lydia Riley

Annotation:

Summary:
“In March 2018, Kate Osamor, then Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, launched the Labour policy paper A world for the many not the few, setting out a future for Britain’s aid policy under a Corbynite government. The document is remarkable for a number of reasons: firstly, its conception of Britain’s role in the world; secondly, its framing of aid and development policies and the purpose of these policies; and thirdly, its repeated and explicit invocation of a feminist approach to aid and development. This explicit engagement with feminist politics in a field which has been so shaped by patriarchal structures is welcome; but Labour could do with a more critical engagement with the long legacies of imperialism in British policies and the complicated history of the party’s own role in this imperial history” (Riley 2019, 52).

Topics: Development, Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy Regions: Europe, Northern Europe Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2019

Manly States and Feminist Foreign Policy: Revisiting the Liberal State as an Agent of Change

Citation:

Duriesmith, David. 2018. “Manly States and Feminist Foreign Policy: Revisiting the Liberal State as an Agent of Change.” In Revisiting Gendered States: Feminist Imaginings of the State in International Relations, edited by Swati Parashar, J. Ann Tickner, and Jacqui True, 51-68. New York: Oxford University Press. 

Author: David Duriesmith

Annotation:

Summary:
Support for antiviolence campaigns represents a significant step forward in mobilizing the state in achieving feminist goals, while at the same time these actions uncover underlying tensions in challenging gender inequality by drawing on institutions defined by masculine modes of action. This chapter looks at the HeForShe campaign as a recent state attempt to pursue profeminist policies in the international arena. It argues that the use of the liberal state as an agent of change risks a quixotic search for a “good” masculinity as a basis for the state achieving feminist change. Comparing HeForShe to masculinities theorization on gender activism, the chapter challenges the notion that states can internationally break free from their masculinist underpinnings without adopting the position of being reflective allies to feminist causes. (Summary from Oxford Scholarship Online)

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Violence

Year: 2018

The Origins of Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy

Citation:

Chapnick, Adam. 2019. “The Origins of Canada’s Feminist Foreign Policy.” International Journal: Canada’s Journal of Global Policy Analysis 74 (2): 191–205. 

Author: Adam Chapnick

Abstract:

In January 2019, a leading Canadian foreign policy blog, OpenCanada.org, declared that “[u]nder the government of Justin Trudeau, Canada has embraced a feminist foreign policy—gradually at first, and with fervor over the past year.” Although critics have debated the policy’s effectiveness, the embrace, if not also the fervor, was indisputable. By 2019, the Trudeau government’s second foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, was proclaiming Canada’s feminist approach to international relations openly and regularly. The international community had also noticed. This article investigates the origins of the new Canadian foreign policy “brand.” It finds that, contrary to popular thinking, the prime minister himself played at most a minor role in the initiation of what became a full-fledged transformation of Canada’s global image.

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Canada

Year: 2019

The Nuclear Ban Treaty and the Cloud Over Trudeau’s ‘Feminist’ Foreign Policy

Citation:

Broadhead, Lee-Anne, and Sean Howard. 2019. “The Nuclear Ban Treaty and the Cloud Over Trudeau’s ‘Feminist’ Foreign Policy.” International Journal: Canada's Journal of Global Policy Analysis 74 (3): 422-44.

Authors: Lee-Anne Broadhead, Sean Howard

Abstract:

The Canadian Liberal government of Justin Trudeau claims to be ushering in a new era of a ‘‘feminist’’ foreign policy. While serious steps have been taken in this direction, this paper focuses on the government’s opposition to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, a treaty that has been negotiated with a logic and language explicitly linking issues of disarmament and gender, reframing ‘‘security’’ as fundamentally a question not of state but of human (and environmental) security. Ignoring its own public statements that repeatedly link women with peace and security, the Trudeau government’s opposition to the Treaty exposes the hollowness of its claims.

Keywords: Canada, foreign policy, nuclear weapons, Trudeau, feminism

Topics: Feminisms, Feminist Foreign Policy, Gender, Peace and Security, Rights, Security, Human Security, Weapons /Arms Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Canada

Year: 2019

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

Citation:

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

Abstract:

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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