Foreign Policy Digital

A French Feminist Foreign Policy

France is the latest country to pledge allegiance to a gendered international focus. Will it work?

Earlier this month, France hosted a series of meetings focused on advancing gender equality and women’s rights as part of its presidency of the Group of Seven (G-7) major industrial economies. This included official meetings of ministers of gender equality (or relevant high-ranking officials), a high-level council of advisors, including the actor Emma Watson, and a large gathering of civil society advocates from G-7 and other countries together known as the Women 7.

By the end of gathering, France had pledged to join efforts to advance feminist foreign policies globally. The idea certainly sounds good, but what does that really mean, broadly? And what, more specifically, are the implications for international assistance?

If it sounds a bit woolly, that’s because in embracing the concept of feminist foreign policy France is planting a stake in what remains relatively undefined territory. To date, only three or approach among them, which means each country has taken the idea in a slightly different direction. Further, countries that have signed on have reacted and related to the idea of such a policy with varying degrees of buy-in—and opt-out.

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