Feminist Development and Foreign Policy goes beyond integrating women into existing processes that have long been dominated by the interests and agendas of powerful men. It is a critical driver to push progress on sexual and reproductive health and rights, which is the cornerstone of feminist development.
Grounded in equality and intersectionality and informed by the voices of feminist activists, groups and movements, Feminist Development and Foreign Policies are not just for women, but for all members of a society.
However, the implementation of these policies can be met with opposition and hostility, particularly when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
So how do we counter opposition, anti-rights, and anti-gender movements aiming to undermine and block progress?
This was one of the central questions of the high-level panel we co-hosted on Feminist Development and Foreign Policy with the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in Berlin on 12 June. We also discussed some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in agreeing and implementing a Feminist Development and Foreign Policy and how this relates to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
“Feminist policy is deliberately designed to be intersectional and to be a mechanism that can work with all people,” said Mina Barling, External Relations Director at IPPF, who moderated the panel. “It also influences a span of work with knock-on effects related to aid, trade, defense and diplomacy.”
The 3 R’s of Feminist Foreign Policy
In March, the German Government announced its new Feminist Development Policy that seeks to strategically tackle gender inequalities and promote women’s rights. As the second-largest provider of development aid globally, this policy is an important and historic step for the country, and it follows in the footsteps of Canada, France, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands and Spain.
In her remarks, Parliamentary State Secretary of BMZ, Dr Bärbel Kofler emphasized the three R’s of feminist foreign policy: rights, resources and representation. Successful implementation of this new policy will see the rights of women and marginalized groups granted, their access to resources improved and their representation strengthened as the key to equal participation.