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Where next for feminist foreign policy?

Briefing/policy paper

Written by Ján Michalko

Image credit:Placard asking 'Where is your feminist foreign policy?' at a rally in solidarity with the protests in Iran. Berlin, Germany on 28 September 2022. Credit: Achim Wagner / Shutterstock.com

Feminism is a term that can be polarising, creating both traction and intense reaction around the world wherever it is applied. This generates both advantages and challenges in the context of advancing and implementing feminist foreign policy.

This ODI briefing note draws out current tensions and opportunities for states in the feminist foreign policy (FFP) space, sketching out the contours of debate and providing guidance on how to navigate the ambitions and principles behind the FFP agenda.

Multiple compounding crises are now a defining feature of the global landscape, resulting in a growing economic and political maelstrom which is challenging equality, sustainable collective development and peace. FFP provides an alternative approach to international relations that can meaningfully respond to this polycrisis.

With a view to enhance the desired gender justice outcomes of the policies – and to build accountability for their commitments to feminist principles, this ODI briefing note provides guidance for states working on navigating and operationalising the ambition of FFP. When carefully designed – and implemented in good faith – FFPs promise to lead to the advancement of a non-violent, non-exploitative, and equality-driven foreign affairs. They can also help in the upholding of a universal human-rights-based international order.