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

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More people are living better lives than ever before. But gender equality is still a vision, not a reality.

Sweden’s feminist government wants to make this vision a reality. Gender equality is a goal in itself. But it is also essential for the achievement of the Government’s other overall objectives, such as peace, security and sustainable development.

This is why gender equality and human rights efforts must continue unabated. But we must also go one step further.

And we are doing this by making Sweden the first country in the world to pursue a feminist foreign policy.

Twenty years after the World Conference on Women in Beijing, the commitments are far from being fulfilled. Countless women and girls still experience a blatant lack of rights, representation and resources.

Sweden’s feminist foreign policy will help to achieve concrete results that enhance both gender equality and the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls.

This will be done by implementing systematic gender mainstreaming, based on knowledge and analysis, throughout the foreign policy agenda, not least in peace and security efforts.

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. This will enable the Foreign Service to promote the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls, including by combating all forms of violence and discrimination that restrict their freedom of action.

The action plan specifies approaches, starting points, tools and actors. It also notes the importance of involving men and boys in the process of advancing gender equality.

Focus areas will support progress towards the long-term objectives. In 2016 these will include strengthening the human rights of women and girls in humanitarian settings and combating gender- based and sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations. The potential of women and girls as actors will also be highlighted within the framework of peace processes, peace support operations and sustainable development efforts. The Foreign Service will continue to be a driving force for women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and in 2016 devote special attention to the rights of girls and young people.

The action plan will be incorporated into the Foreign Service operational plan. In this way we will facilitate the implementation and ensure results in foreign, security, development, trade and promotion policy, as well as in the achievement of the new global development goals.

Like the rest of the operational plan, the action plan will be monitored and updated every year. This will enable us to learn from experience and benefit from consultations and new data.

By applying this deeper, broader and more systematic approach, the feminist foreign policy will develop to achieve results that strengthen the rights, representation and resources of all women and girls. 

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