Feminist foreign policy

Equality between women and men is a fundamental aim of Swedish foreign policy. Ensuring that women and girls can enjoy their fundamental human rights is both an obligation within the framework of our international commitments, and a prerequisite for reaching Sweden’s broader foreign policy goals on peace, and security and sustainable development.

Responsible ministers
Margot Wallström
Isabella Lövin
Ann Linde
Responsible ministries
Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Feminist foreign policy

Photo: Government Offices of Sweden

Sweden's feminist foreign policy – examples from three years of implementation

The policy was launched in October 2014 and a follow-up by the Swedish Foreign Service has revealed an intensive implementation process that, in just three years, has made its mark at multilateral, regional and bilateral level, and in relation to all the objectives of the Foreign Service's action plan.

Image: Government Offices of Sweden

Swedish Foreign Service action plan for feminist foreign policy 2015–2018 including focus areas for 2017

This action plan sets the direction of feminist foreign policy action to be taken by the Foreign Service, guided by six long-term objectives. These are broad objectives to match broad challenges, cover the entire global agenda and bring the whole gamut of foreign policy tools into play.

Photo: Ingemar Edfalk/Riksdagsförvaltningen

Statement of Foreign Policy 2017

"Sweden’s feminist foreign policy is producing results for women, girls and entire societies. Our efforts have contributed to some 20 countries drawing up laws and proposals to strengthen gender equality, to hundreds of thousands of women and girls avoiding unsafe abortions and unwanted pregnancies, to some 90 local communities abandoning the practice of female genital mutilation and to 65 countries and organisations making commitments to combat gender-based violence. Sexual and reproductive health and rights will be an even higher priority."

Margot Wallström with mediators.
Margot Wallström with mediators. Photo: Jessica Garpvall/Government Offices of Sweden

Women’s participation helps ensure that peace is more sustainable

Fifteen years ago, 31 October 2000, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. But far too often, women are still excluded, which poses a threat to peace and security and sustainable development in several parts of the world. Sweden is therefore working actively to promote the agenda for women, peace and security.

Isabella Lövin
Minister for International Development Cooperation Isabella Lövin Photo: Kristian Pohl/Government Offices of Sweden

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for women and girls in a crisis-prone world

Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation, opened a seminar in Stockholm on 3 December about SRHR in humanitarian situations. Ms Lövin emphasised that conflict and natural disasters affect women, men, girls and boys in different ways.

Minister for Foreign Affairs  Margot Wallström
Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström. Photo: Kristian Pohl/Regeringskansliet

What a feminist foreign policy can do

"I am here to talk about why Sweden is the first country to declare that we will pursue a feminist foreign policy" Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström explained in a lecture at Helsinki University, 3 March 2015. "Sweden’s feminist foreign policy aims at ensuring women’s rights and participation in central decision-making processes, including in peacebuilding efforts and peace negotiations. Gender equality is not just the right thing to do. It is the necessary thing to do if we want to achieve our wider security and foreign policy objectives."


Foto på Stefan Löfven och Åsa Regnér
Statsminister Stefan Löfven och jämställdhetsminister Åsa Regnér. Foto: Sören Andersson/Regeringskansliet

A Feminist Government

Sweden has the first feminist government in the world. This means that gender equality is central to the Government’s priorities – in decision-making and resource allocation. A feminist government ensures that a gender equality perspective is brought into policy-making on a broad front, both nationally and internationally. Women and men must have the same power to shape society and their own lives. This is a human right and a matter of democracy and justice. Gender equality is also part of the solution to society’s challenges and a matter of course in a modern welfare state – for justice and economic development. The Government’s most important tool for implementing feminist policy is gender mainstreaming, of which gender-responsive budgeting is an important component.

Illustration: UD


Midwives4All is an initiative of the Swedish MFA to spread knowledge about the benefits of midwives and evidence-based midwifery.

Foto: International Alert

Swedish Foreign Policy News

News about gender equality at Swedish Foreign Policy News.

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