All Foreign Policy Spending Should Take Gender Into Account

Publication year


Publication Author

Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States

Read the brief

Globally, gender plays a significant role in determining the barriers people face and the opportunities they have available to them—including their access to economic opportunities and leadership positions, or protection from violence or climate change impacts. When foreign policy ignores the gendered nature of these barriers and opportunities, policy decisions risk exacerbating inequality, slowing growth, and undermining the durability of peace agreements, among other detriments.

Key Findings

ALWAYS CONSIDERING GENDER IS SMART FOREIGN POLICY: This means 100 percent of foreign policy funding should consider how the policies and initiatives supported will either promote or hinder gender equality. Of this total, 20 percent of foreign policy programs should be specifically dedicated to narrowing relevant gender gaps (e.g., in access to finance, benefits from trade agreements).

GENDER INTEGRATION IS BOTH CONGRESSIONALLY MANDATED AND A GLOBAL BEST PRACTICE: This is not a new idea; rather, it is in line with a Congressional mandate that all USAID programs be informed by a gender analysis and that gender be integrated throughout the Agency’s program cycle and strategic planning.

INVESTING IN GENDER EQUALITY DOES NOT REDUCE FUNDING FOR OTHER PRIORITIES: Ensuring that 100 percent of U.S. foreign policy programs consider gender and 20 percent specifically aim to promote gender equality does not mean taking money away from U.S. investments in other areas of foreign policy. Instead, it means ensuring funding dedicated to these purposes is spent more effectively—that it is inclusive in its reach and benefits, and therefore accelerates progress towards global security and prosperity.

Promising Practices

These examples demonstrate how the implementation of a feminist foreign policy can be approached in concrete terms, though in isolation do not reflect a fully feminist approach to foreign policy.

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