Feminist Foreign Policies (FFPs), Feminist Development Policies (FDPs) and international strategies on gender equality have become increasingly commonplace since Sweden launched the world’s first FFP in 2014. Although there is no one definition of FFPs or FDPs and different approaches have been adopted, in general, they entail governments taking an explicitly feminist approach to foreign policy, development and or/diplomacy. Since 2014 the number of countries with FFPs or FDPs has continued to grow, while countries such as the UK and USA launched policies focused on championing the rights of women, girls, and marginalised groups internationally.
In 2023, at the midpoint of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world remains unequivocally off track to eliminating all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG), despite VAWG being a fundamental barrier to achieving the majority of the SDGs. FFPs, FDPs and international strategies on gender equality are therefore necessary tools to prevent and respond to VAWG across all settings, sectors and systems. It is necessary that such strategies move beyond rhetoric to create systemic, sustained change in the lives of women and girls. However, there has been limited analysis of how VAWG prevention and response is considered in existing FFPs and related strategies on gender equality, or what this means in practice.
This brief provides an introduction to the relationship between FFPs, FDPs, international gender strategies and VAWG. It summarises the framing of and commitments around VAWG in a selection of
FFPs, FDPs and international gender strategies, and examines what this means for VAWG prevention and response work. It considers what is missing from existing policies and their implementation so far, and makes recommendations for donors and policy makers.