Feminist Foreign Policy: Contributions and lessons

11th August 2021
Author: Jacqueline Hicks

A relatively small number of countries have an explicit “Feminist Foreign Policy” (FFP). Those most often cited are Sweden, Canada, France, Mexico, and Spain. In theory, an FFP moves beyond gender mainstreaming in foreign development assistance to include: (1) a wider range of external actions, including defence, trade and diplomacy (2) a wider range of marginalised people, not just women. Within foreign development assistance, it implies a more coherent and systematically institutionalised approach to gender mainstreaming. In practice, those countries with an explicit FFP implement it in different ways. Canada currently focuses on development assistance, France on development assistance and formal diplomacy, Sweden more comprehensively covers the trade and defence policy arenas. Mexico and Spain are yet to produce detailed implementation plans. There is increasing academic interest in FFP, but most analyses found during the course of this rapid review focus on narrative content of policies rather than impact. Policy advocacy and advice is provided by several high-profile advocacy organisations. National government agencies in Sweden, France and Canada have produced some evaluations of their FFP, but the evidence is weak. There are many international institution evaluations of gender mainstreaming for many different sectors that are context-specific.

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Suggested Citation

Hicks, J. (2021). Feminist Foreign Policy: Contributions and lessons. K4D Helpdesk Report. Institute of Development Studies. DOI: 10.19088/K4D.2021.110.


11th August 2021


Continent: Global

Country: Canada, France, Mexico, Sweden