Feminist Foreign Policy: A Framework

Publication year


Publication Author

Lyric Thompson, Senior Director of Policy and Advocacy at the International Center for Research on Women

As the world marks the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a growing number of feminists inside and outside of government are pioneering new approaches to policy that are tailored to address the issues of the day and advance new ground in the global quest for gender equality and the fulfillment of women’s human rights. Today’s most pressing issues, and the solutions that are envisioned, are not radically different from those addressed at Beijing. The context, however, has changed. Despite measurable progress in girls’ education, maternal health and, increasingly, the repeal of discriminatory laws, there are new and dynamic challenges that threaten to reverse progress and rollback rights. 

This framework attempts to distill a definition and few core components of feminist foreign policy, drawing from the few examples that exist today, as well as the insights of feminist thinkers, advocates and experts inside and outside of government.

Download the framework:  English  |  Spanish-españolFrench-français  |  Arabic-عربى

In June 2021, this growing collective was formalized at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, in hopes of informing the fledgling field of feminist foreign policy and expanding the number of countries bold enough to embrace it. The Global Partner Network to Advance Feminist Foreign Policy will encourage learning and adoption of a shared framework for a feminist foreign policy; provide resources to be called upon for action and advice; and determine a plan of action for the year ahead.

To read more about ICRW’s and our partners’ comprehensive work on feminist foreign policy, click here.

This framework was written in consultation with the following individuals who participated in a convening to consider what a global gold standard for feminist foreign policy might entail:

Cristopher Ballinas Valdés, United Mexican States; Ann Bernes, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden; Mabel Bianco, Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer; Sundaa Bridgett-Jones, The Rockefeller Foundation; Bridget Burns, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO); Ellen Friedman, The Compton Foundation; Elissa Golberg, Global Affairs Canada; Erin Hohlfelder, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Memory Kachambwa, The African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET); Kristina Lunz, Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy; Geetanjali Misra, CREA; Delphine O, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France; Megan O’Donnell, Center for Global Development; Blen Sahilu, Women’s Rights Advocate and Policy Advisor; Theo Sowa, African Women’s Development Fund; Rachel Vogelstein, Council on Foreign Relations; and Beth Woroniuk, The Equality Fund.

Publication Rights:

Thompson, L. (2020). Feminist Foreign Policy: A Framework. Washington, DC: International Center for Research on Women.

*Updated June 2021