That’s behind Annalena Baerbock’s plans

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants to strengthen “feminist” foreign policy. But what is meant by this?

The most important things at a glance

Annalena Baerbock and Svenja Schulze have gone to great lengths: their “Feminist Foreign Policy Guidelines” presented on Wednesday comprise 88 pages. In it, the Foreign and Development Ministers explain how the Federal Government’s diplomacy and foreign policy intend to focus more on the issues of equality and participation, justice and peace in the future.

But what exactly is behind the concept of feminist foreign policy? Should all documents be gendered in the future or should positions only be filled by women? t-online answers the most important questions.

What is feminist foreign policy?

Contrary to what one might think, feminist foreign policy is not concerned with gender language or anything like that. Rather, it is about the unequal distribution of rights, resources and opportunities that has grown over centuries.

The goal is a world based on the inclusion and equality of all people in all areas of society. She wants to fight discrimination, injustice and oppression based on gender, sexual orientation, origin, skin color, disability or religion.

The guidelines of the Federal Foreign Office, which Baerbock and Schulze recently presented, state: “Feminist foreign policy is based on the conviction that all people enjoy the same rights and deserve the same freedoms and opportunities.” So it is less about asserting power interests than before, but about the human rights of everyone, on a national and global level.

Feminist foreign policy also wants to rethink the term “security”. In the past, the foreign policy interests of a state were primarily the defense of the country in the event of war or the armament strength. Meanwhile, peaceful cooperation and partnerships with other countries also play an important role.

In concrete terms, this means moving away from security through weapons and global armament, especially in the form of nuclear weapons. Feminist foreign policy strives for the concept of a so-called positive peace. Poverty, hunger, structural violence and inequality are to be overcome.

And that’s where women, a female approach to foreign policy, can play a big role, according to a United Nations study in which researchers examined more than 180 peace processes. The result: when women were involved in the negotiations, the probability of a peace lasting at least two years was 20 percent higher – because perspectives were taken into account that would otherwise have been missing or neglected.

What exactly is Baerbock planning?

Since the beginning of her tenure, Baerbock has tried to put women at the center of her travels. To this end, Baerbock keeps visiting women’s organizations and exchanging ideas with women – for example in Bosnia, Ethiopia or on Palau in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

In addition, the minister wants to create, among other things, the post of ambassador for the Federal Foreign Office for feminist foreign policy. By 2025, the German Development Ministry (BMZ) wants to increase the proportion of newly committed project funds for promoting gender equality from 64 to 93 percent. 85 percent of the projects should have equality as a secondary goal and 8 percent as the main goal.

Annalena Baerbock at the United Nations in New York (Quelle: IMAGO/Florian Gaertner)

In addition, at least 50 percent of management positions in the development department should be filled by women. In international organizations such as the UN, the World Bank and the EU, the ministry wants to put feminist development policy on the agenda.

In development and humanitarian aid, a feminist foreign trade policy aims to enable women to work and receive fair wages. It is also about protecting against human rights violations along global supply chains, which affect women disproportionately often.

The protection interests of women and girls around the world should be particularly strengthened, because women are particularly affected by poverty, physical and sexualized violence and flight. For example, Baerbock wants to protect women worldwide from female genital mutilation. Baerbock would like to better integrate women into peace processes and take more decisive action against sexualized violence in armed conflicts. She is also committed to arms control and against nuclear weapons within the framework of feminist security policy. The focus on the rights of queer people is also part of the feminist approach.


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