A European feminist foreign policy?

The need for a progressive and transformative approach

Policy Brief


The application of a feminist approach to international relations has gained significant ground across the globe since the original decision by the Swedish Social Democratic and Green coalition at the time to explicitly adopt a feminist foreign policy (FFP).

While it is excellent news that FFP is becoming more ‘normalised’ in the public debate and increasingly gaining the attention of government actors, the development of a more ambitious concept, policy, and action should be continued. A more ambitious, progressive, and transformative approach must be continuously advocated by feminists, civil society organisations, and policymakers alike. In particular, the European Union (EU) should be more determined to adopt and practice feminist principles in its external action.

Given its supranational and inter-governmental nature, a FFP at the EU level represents the opportunity to amplify the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of marginalised groups globally. As Europe finds itself in the most severe security crisis since the end of World War II, there is momentum to transform its external action. At the same time, the feminist branding of foreign policy coincides with the increased political commitment to gender equality.

Amid what can be considered a “feminist turn in foreign policy”, this policy brief reflects on the opportunities and challenges of more clearly linking the external action and (gender) equality agendas into a European feminist foreign policy and puts forth some policy recommendations to contribute to the debates.


This study is part of the Feminist Foreign Policy Progressive Voices Collective (FFPPVC), led by FEPS and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, which questions traditional approaches to foreign policy to enable an alternative account of foreign relations from the standpoint of the most disadvantaged.

The project aims to advance concrete policy recommendations and will build on a multistakeholder feminist foreign policy community, which will gather feminist policy experts.

Fondation Jean-Jaurès
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