In 2014, during Margot Wallström’s tenure as foreign minister, Sweden became the first country to adopt a feminist foreign policy. Canada, France, and Mexico followed suit, as did Luxembourg, Malaysia, and Spain, which pledged to adopt similar policies.
However, there is no unified definition for feminist foreign policy, nor is there much systematic discussion about it in the academic literature regarding the adoption of a feminist foreign policy on a state level.
Instead, feminist foreign policy is described as an interdisciplinary framework aimed at changing power structures and norms, and addressing the root causes of existing inequalities based on gender, race, class, or sexual orientation.
Even though it is a relatively new phenomenon, feminist foreign policy is firmly rooted in states’ efforts to ensure gender equality, as well as the establishment of ministries for women, the mainstreaming of gender perspectives in policy formation, and the growth of gender quotas in elections.
Furthermore, it has clear ties to women’s rights, peace, and security, as well as the role individual countries play in promoting it through national action plans as part of their foreign policy.
Therefore, Feminist Foreign Policy defines a state’s interactions with other states and non-state actors in a way that prioritizes peace, gender equality, and environmental integrity, and entrenches human rights for all.
This means that it is a comprehensive, consistent, and coherent approach to a range of actions, including domestic and foreign policy and international relations.
Given that the policies promoting gender equality in foreign policy are relatively new, it is too early to determine the effects they will have on improving women’s lives or stimulating the political will to bring about more change.
Moreover, there is no consensus on the effects this trend has on foreign policy or the extent to which it affects patriotism, as the feminist foreign policies adopted by some governments have not led to consolidating peace, reducing military conflicts, addressing the root causes of inequality, or integrating women into the political scene.
It is clear that the road ahead for feminist foreign policy is still long and requires more effort to bring about the necessary change; after all, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.