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
Peter Eriksson
Ann Linde
Anna Hallberg
Responsible ministries
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
  • 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 foreign policy

Foto: FN/Edwin J. Torres

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.

Photo: Ryan Brown/UN Photo

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.

Photo: Anders Löwdin/The Riksdag

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).

Photo: The Government Offices of Sweden

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.

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.

UN Photo/Albert González Farran

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.


Stefan Löfven and Åsa Lindhagen.
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Minister for Gender Equality Åsa Lindhagen. Photo: Ninni Andersson/Government Offices of Sweden

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.

Foto: Regeringskansliet

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.

Foto: International Alert

Swedish Foreign Policy News

News about gender equality at Swedish Foreign Policy News.

Content about Feminist foreign policy

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