Why We Need a Feminist Foreign Policy

Introduction and Explainer

Why We Need a Feminist Foreign Policy - Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung Washington, DC

video-thumbnail Watch on YouTube

The concept of a feminist foreign policy evolved from decades of grassroots feminist activism, especially powerful movements in the Global South. These movements advocated for a radically new approach to international engagement: one that takes into consideration the rights and needs of women and marginalized people, emphasizes diplomacy, and seeks to remedy histories of exploitation.

In the past five years, governments from Mexico to Liberia to Germany have officially adopted feminist foreign policies. But today, amid armed conflicts, the rise of authoritarian regimes and antidemocratic aspirations worldwide, the approach and its practical implementation have become hotly contested. What responsibilities does a feminist foreign policy impose on a country? How should a foreign policy guided by a feminist approach engage in the international system and in these conflict zones? How can a feminist foreign policy confront authoritarianism and fascism?

To provide some shared language as well as an introduction to those who are new to the concept, the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Washington, DC worked with a group of emerging feminist leaders from across the world to develop an explainer video outlining the key pillars of feminist foreign policy. We believe that this moment of multiple crises could be a time to prove the urgency, importance, and validity of a foreign policy grounded in human rights and dignity—if only we have the courage to engage in difficult conversations.

Over the course of 2024, our global network of offices looks forward to providing inclusive spaces for the lively and often challenging conversations with partners and experts to advance feminist foreign policy. We hope this video can help kickstart some of those debates.