Including a gender dimension in foreign policy

According to the Equality Committee, member States should ensure a gender dimension in their foreign policies, in view of promoting inclusiveness, equality and non-discrimination and to counter the backlash against women's rights. The report by Petra Stienen (Netherlands, ALDE), adopted by the committee today, gives in particular the example of Sweden's feminist foreign policy, which has inspired other countries to use their foreign policies as a political tool to promote women's rights.

Periods of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed inequalities, parliamentarians said, pointing to “social and economic consequences having a disproportionately negative impact on women” and an alarming rise in domestic violence. The committee considers that women should be an integral part of the response to this crisis and “be meaningfully involved in all decision-making processes to manage the aftermath and put in place strategies to tackle future crises”.

The text adopted by the committee proposes a series of measures to include the gender dimension in foreign policy, in particular: facilitating women's participation in diplomatic careers, promoting gender mainstreaming in the functioning of public administrations, and providing financial support for programmes protecting women's rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights.