Divide among supporters of “feminist” foreign policy over the “complete version” or the “realistic approach”

Diplomatic feminist leaders seek a peaceful solution to conflicts and terrorism

  • The feminist movement seeks more equality with men.

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Annalena Barbock is Germany's first female foreign minister of the fairer sex.

According to the new government coalition agreement, it wants to pursue a "feminist foreign policy."

But opinions differ as to what that actually means.

In 2014, Swedish Socialist MP Margot Wallström called for equal rights for women and men around the world.

It demanded equal representation of women in politics, business and society with men, as well as access to the same resources.

Having just been appointed Secretary of State, Wallstrom quickly began appointing more women to government positions and approving funds for women's projects abroad.

"Feminist foreign policy" became the official policy of the Swedish government, and was well received in a number of other countries as well, including Canada and the Netherlands.

But the idea in general has a lot of problems.

What about Germany?

In Germany, feminist Christina Luns was at the forefront of this movement. Together with other feminist and social activists, she founded the Center for Feminist Foreign Policy in Berlin, which advises on women's affairs, conducts research, and puts forward policy proposals aimed at formulating a different kind of foreign policy. and security. She spoke of this by saying, "Feminist activism is trying to break down structures that depend on violence." She cites counterterrorism as one example: 90% of the terrorists active around the world are men. She believes that this is because society encourages aggressive behavior in boys, while raising girls to be more passive. She believes that these "patriarchal structures" contribute to making most terrorists men.

Those who promote feminist foreign policy believe that such patterns are prevalent in foreign and security policies as well.

It is shaped mostly by men, and in Lons view this policy often relies on force.

Countries are armed to take preventive measures against these terrorists, while also engaging in violence if necessary.

In contrast, feminist foreign policy advocates the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and Luns opposes the deployment of nuclear bombs on German soil.

Two schools of thought

Professor Carlo Masala at Germany's Bundeswehr University in Munich is not a fan of unilateralism when it comes to disarmament.

She told the German foreign broadcaster that if Western countries spent less on defense, Russia would view this as a weakness and respond with everything.

She believes that feminist foreign policies, in their current form, require more clarity.

She said there is also a split between supporters of this policy, including those who embrace a "complete version" and those who favor a "realistic approach."

The first group seeks a peaceful and utopian formula for foreign policy at any cost, while others are primarily concerned with getting more women into positions of power in public diplomacy, the military, and civil society.

Kosovo is a role model for Viola von Kramon, a member of the German Green Party in the European Parliament.

She has told the media that as a pragmatist, she believes that feminist foreign policies should put women at the center of negotiations.

She went on to say that women's issues need to be emphasized more strongly than in the past.

On paper at least, the EU says it wants an equal number of men and women to negotiate the current issues.

But in reality, this is not often the case.

Kramon cites Kosovo as an example of what a successful feminist foreign policy looks like.

She said that there are many socially active women's groups among Serbs and Kosovar Albanians.

These groups remain in close contact with each other and work together in a spirit of cooperation.

According to this activist, these groups have been able to make progress, but the men and their governing structures have so far prevented them from making more.

Divide the world more justly

She fears that the new German chancellor, Olaf Schulz, will not abide by the division of labor that existed within the government of former German chancellor, Angela Merkel.

Its concern is that the new German chancellery will continue to sponsor the "big players" such as the United States, China, France, the European Union and Russia, while leaving the small fish (ie the women) to work in the Foreign Ministry.

She criticized the former German Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, for allowing himself to be "degraded," as she put it.

She hopes that Annalena Barbock will bring more power to the State Department, and not just hand everything over to the Chancellery.

But Masala does not think that will happen, and expects the chancellorship to continue to focus on the "big players".

She believes that the old division of labor will persist under the new government, and that Annalena Barbock will simply have to get used to it.

Ambition versus reality

Masala points to clear contradictions in feminist foreign policies when taking a closer look at Sweden.

In 2014, Sweden pledged to pursue a feminist foreign policy, however, over the past 10 years, it has been one of the few European countries to increase defense spending, due to a perceived threat from Russia.

Both Kramon and Masala agree that Germany's new foreign minister may indeed adopt a tougher line on Russia and China, and appears to be committed to the idea of ​​a feminist foreign policy agenda.

After all, part of the plan is to boost the status of more women within government agencies, including the State Department.

On paper at least, the EU says it wants an equal number of men and women to negotiate the current issues.

But in reality, this is not often the case.

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