Public lecture with Margot Wallström on feminist foreign policy

In 2014, as newly-appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs, Margot Wallström launched Sweden’s feminist foreign policy. At a public lecture in Brussels on 14 March, she spoke about the content and implementation of this policy. Ms Wallström stressed the reasons why women need to be at the negotiating table in peace talks, and the responsibility the European Union has to make a difference, in particular with regard to external relations.

  • Margot Wallström

    "The EU must lead by example. To be credible, we need to show that there is a link between our internal and external action and that we apply a gender perspective when we build our organisations, form our negotiating teams and staff our missions," emphasised Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström when she spoke about Sweden's feminist foreign policy at a public lecture in Brussels on 14 March.

    Photo: Anna-Charlotta Erikson, The Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU

  • Margot Wallström

    Ian Lesser, Executive Director, Transatlantic Center, Margot Wallström, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Corinna Horst, Deputy Director, The German Marshall Fund of the United States in Brussels, and Anders Ahnlid, Permanent Representative of Sweden to the EU. Deputy Director Corinna Horst was the lecture moderator.

    Photo: Anna-Charlotta Erikson, The Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU

  • Margot Wallström

    Many participants took the opportunity to speak with Minister Wallström after her lecture and the questions and answers session on Sweden's feminist foreign policy

    Photo: Anna-Charlotta Erikson, The Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU

  • Margot Wallström Corinna Horst

    - We have taken concrete measures. We have initiated a network of women mediators, which within two years will be ready to assist peace efforts wherever they occur, said Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs, in her lecture in Brussels about Sweden's feminist foreign policy, March 14. Moderator of the lecture was Corinna Hurst, Deputy Director of the German Marshall Fund's Brussels Office.

    Photo: Anna-Charlotta Erikson, The Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU

"What is important is that the realisation is growing that gender equality is not a women's issue but rather a make-or-break issue. It is a make-or-break issue in itself – and for peace, security and sustainable development as a whole."

With these words, Ms Wallström began her lecture, addressing a crowded hall and an audience watching the livestream.

Despite the fact that peace processes involving both women and men result in more sustainable agreements, only four per cent of signatories of peace agreements between 1992 and 2011 were women.

"A feminist foreign policy therefore defines gender equality as a peace and security issue as well," Ms Wallström explained.

This is also why the Swedish Government supports women in mediator networks, for example in the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Ms Wallström reminded the audience of the success of the Millennium Development Goals in making it possible for more girls to attend school, but that much remains to be done, as she showed through a number of concrete examples.

"It is clear that we have to start with the facts if want to make a difference for the 'three Rs'," Margot Wallström said, refering to women's representation, rights and resources.

Ms Wallström's message to the EU was clear: the EU has an important role in showing that there is a link between internal and external policy. The EU must deliver for women and girls, lead by example and ensure that gender equality permeates all external action.

"A gender perspective should also be part of the EU political dialogue with third countries, our neighbourhood policy, the Eastern Partnership, and our enlargement and trade policy," Ms Wallström emphasised.

Ms Wallström recounted that in the EU Foreign Affairs Council she asks whether women are part of the processes, but that sometimes she waits to see whether anyone else will raise the issue.

"Why does it always have to be me?" she asked rhetorically.

The lecture was arranged jointly by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the European Union.

 

Event page at the German Marshall Fund of the United States

Published by the EU-representation

Contact

The Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU
Phone +32 2 289 56 11
Visiting address Square de Meeûs 30, 1000 Bryssel, Belgien
email to The Permanent Representation of Sweden to the EU

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Twitter during the Lecture #FeministForeignPolicy

Swedish Foreign Service action plan for feminist foreign policy 2015–2018 including focus areas for 2016

Syria's peace talks need more women at the table