Feminist foreign policy
Gender equality is a fundamental aim of Swedish foreign policy. Ensuring that women and girls enjoy fundamental human rights is an obligation within our international commitments and prerequisite to achieving Sweden’s broader foreign policy goals – peace, security and sustainable development.
Feminist foreign policy – for peace, security and sustainable development
The Swedish Government pursues a feminist foreign policy. Sweden established this policy in 2014 after many years of promoting gender equality and human rights nationally and internationally. Sweden's feminist foreign policy is based on the conviction that sustainable peace, security and development can never be achieved if half the world’s population is excluded.
The policy is a response to the discrimination and systematic subordination that still characterises everyday life for countless women and girls all over the world. Feminist foreign policy is an agenda for change to strengthen the rights, representation and resources of all women and girls.
Feminist Trade Policy
There is overwhelming evidence that gender equality boosts economic growth. Despite this, trade policy today benefits men more than women. The Swedish government’s feminist trade policy includes six focus areas where we will step up efforts to ensure that trade policy and trade promotion activities benefit women and men equally.
Women, Peace and Security (WPS)
On 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.
Feminist foreign policy
Action plan for feminist foreign policy 2021
The action plan sets the direction of 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 spectrum of foreign policy tools into play.
Covid-19 and gender equality
Crises affect women and men in different ways. Already discriminated and marginalised groups and individuals are being hit the hardest. Covid-19 is no exception. Women’s economic situation is disproportionately affected as they are often found in low-wage jobs and in the informal sector as well as oftentimes lacking access to social safety nets. Furthermore, violence against women has increased. There is also a risk of increased maternal and child mortality due to sexual and reproductive health care being crowded out or further limited. Women's rights organisations have also reported on the challenges in participating in political and peace processes. At the same time, opportunities may emerge when communities come together to counter the pandemic.
By pursuing a feminist foreign policy, Sweden consistently works for gender equality and the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls.
Handbook on feminist foreign policy
Sweden is the first country in the world to formulate and pursue a feminist foreign policy, and this handbook is the first of its kind. The handbook includes methods and experiences, and is intended as a resource in international work for gender equality and all women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of human rights.
Government communication on the feminist foreign policy
Five years of Sweden’s feminist foreign policy show that it generates results. This is outlined in the Government communication on the policy which was presented by the Government to the Riksdag in September 2019. The feminist foreign policy has, among other things, contributed to support for female members of parliament and entrepreneurs, fewer cases of maternal mortality and unplanned pregnancies, and more resources for gender equality and women’s and girl’s rights. Sweden has also contributed toward mobilising and financing for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
Feminist Trade Policy
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. 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. There is also overwhelming evidence that gender equality boosts economic growth. Despite this, trade policy today benefits men more than women.
SEK 1 billion to Government’s first global gender equality strategy
Funds totalling SEK 1 billion will be used to enhance gender equality for women and girls around the world. This was decided by the Government at its meeting on 12 April. It is the first time that Sweden’s Government has adopted a global thematic strategy for gender equality.
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.
Sweden is mustering its forces to increase gender equality on the internet through #WikiGap
WikiGap is an initiative to increase women’s representation on the internet. A gender-equal internet contributes to a gender-equal world.
Content about Feminist foreign policy
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Ministry for Foreign Affairs – a brief presentation
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) is responsible for Sweden’s relations with other countries and international organisations, and for development cooperation policy and international trade policy. The MFA together with more than 100 missions abroad make up the Swedish Foreign Service. A mission abroad may be be an embassy, consulate-general, delegation or representation. The MFA is part of the Government Offices and is the largest ministry.
The Istanbul Convention 10 years: Every woman and girl has the right to live free from violence
Opinion piece by Swedish Minister for Gender Equality and Housing Märta Stenevi, together with 20 other European politicians. Published in Swedish newspaper ETC along with other European newspapers on 11 May 2021.
The Istanbul Convention is an important tool in efforts to stop men’s violence against women
On 11 May 2021, the Swedish Government will join the international celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the Istanbul Convention. The Istanbul Convention is the informal name of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.
Statement by Ms Märta Stenevi, Minister for Gender Equality, at the UN CSW65
Digital UN Commission on the Status of Women. 18 March 2021. Check against delivery.
Märta Stenevi to take part in UN session on the status of women
On 15–19 March, Minister for Gender Equality Märta Stenevi will take part digitally in the sixty-fifth session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65). The priority theme is women’s opportunities for participation and decision-making in public life, and the elimination of violence against women.
Sweden pushes for economic gender equality
On 8 March, International Women’s Day, a stakeholder meeting was held at which Minister for Gender Equality Märta Stenevi and Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde met with more than 40 civil society organisations to get input for Sweden’s engagement in a global action coalition on economic gender equality.
The Foreign Ministers of Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark mark the International Women's Day 2021 with strong commitment to Gender Equality and the rights of all women and girls
For decades, Nordic countries have prospered due to the equal participation and inclusion of women and girls in all areas of societal life. For us, ensuring the enjoyment of human rights of all women and girls, in all their diversity, and ending gender-based discrimination in all of its forms, is the right and the smart thing to do because gender equality benefits everyone.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Resolution 1325. Sweden strengthens its support for UN peacebuilding efforts and women’s participation
This month we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Within the global response to the covid-19 pandemic, Sweden has decided to contribute an additional 75 million Swedish kronor to sustaining peace efforts, within which women’s meaningful participation is a key component.
Speech by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven at the High-level meeting on Beijing+25
Speech by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to commomorate the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action. Check against delivery.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Gender Equality attend meeting on international gender equality work in the wake of COVID-19
Some 70 participants from civil society organisations, the social partners and government agencies took part in a digital meeting on 26 August hosted by Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde and Minister for Gender Equality Åsa Lindhagen. Discussions covered the international coalition to work for financial gender equality, of which Sweden is one of the leaders, and international gender equality work in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.