Historic Legislation Calling for a Feminist Foreign Policy Reintroduced in U.S. Congress

Press Release Date

08 March 2021

Press Release Author

Lindsay Bigda, Communications Specialist, ICRW

WASHINGTON — The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) applauds the leadership of Congresswomen Speier, Lee, Frankel, and Lawrence, who today re-introduced historic resolution (H.Res. 196), calling for a feminist foreign policy in the United States. 34 other representatives joined them as original co-sponsors, providing critical support in the effort to make a feminist foreign policy a reality in the United States.

The Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States is grateful for the leadership of these incredible Congresswomen, and proud to partner with them in this effort to make U.S. foreign policy feminist,” said Lyric Thompson, the Senior Director for Policy and Advocacy at the International Center for Research on Women and the lead author of a white paper endorsed by the Coalition and more than 75 organizations outlining what a U.S. feminist foreign policy might look like. “We hope,” Thompson added, “that the Biden-Harris Administration will take this resolution and the forward-thinking leadership of these Representatives to heart and join fellow allies and neighboring countries by committing to a feminist foreign policy.”

The resolution calls for the adoption of a feminist foreign policy, which includes foreign assistance and humanitarian response, trade, diplomacy, defense, immigration, funding, and oversight mechanisms. It highlights that feminist foreign policy should prioritize peace, gender equality, and environmental integrity. The resolution further aims to enshrine, promote, and protect the human rights of all and seek to disrupt colonial, racist, patriarchal, and male-dominated power structures.

Pioneered in 2014 by Sweden, feminist foreign policy has emerged as the world’s most promising policy innovation to advance gender equality, defend human rights, and promote peace and planet. Since then, a growing number of countries, including both of America’s neighbors and two of its most valuable trade partners, Canada and Mexico, have crafted their own policies,

Before the onslaught of COVID-19, the World Economic Forum estimated that, it would take almost 100 years to reach global gender equality if the status quo were maintained. As COVID-19 exacerbates health, economic and gender inequalities globally and as the world’s female leaders increasingly make headlines for spearheading the most effective responses to the pandemic, today’s resolution is a reminder both of what is possible, and how much work still must be done.

Partner Quotes

“It is long past time that our national foreign policy priorities change to reflect the fundamentally new world that we are living in. For too long, we’ve militarized our approach to foreign policy problems, and this has left us ill-equipped to tackle today’s most urgent crises: the coronavirus pandemic, climate change, and the destruction of our democracy,” explained Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE). “We need a new way forward – one that prioritizes the health and human rights of people, the wellbeing of our planet, the goal of peace. Further, we need a way forward that ensures and protect sexual and reproductive health and rights for all — a key component in making our vision of a feminist foreign policy a reality.”

“CARE is proud to support this resolution that brings national and global attention to a core message our organization stands firmly behind: centering gender equality in diplomacy, development assistance, and humanitarian response is not only critical to advancing the rights of women and girls, it is foundational to making our world more equitable and safe,” said Michelle Nunn, CARE USA President & CEO. “We are long past the time for confronting the inequalities that hold millions of women and girls back – now is the time to stand on principle and act. CARE thanks Congresswomen Speier, Frankel, Lee, Meng, Lawrence, and the other original co-sponsors for taking this bold message forward.”

“A feminist foreign policy is essential for a constructive US approach to global engagement and would enable the US to make significant contributions towards a truly sustainable and equitable world. The executive branch should take note as civil society and key members of Congress work together to realize this goal.” – Kavita N. Ramdas, Director of Open Society Foundations’ Women’s Rights Program


About the Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States: The Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States was founded in 2020 to advocate with U.S. policymakers to share recommendations, analysis and resources and encourage the United States Government, in whole or in part, to take up the recommendations articulated in the paper Toward a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States.

Mission Statement:

ICRW is the premier applied research institute focused on women and girls. In 2016, ICRW merged with the U.S. research organization Re:Gender (formerly the National Council for Research on Women) to create a global research platform.Headquartered in Washington, DC, with regional offices in India and Uganda, ICRW provides research and analysis to inform programs and policies that promote gender equality and help alleviate poverty.