Skip to main content
Read page text

INDIA IN THE WORLD Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

(1900–1990) President of the UN General

Assembly

From freedom fighter to global diplomat, the path to the world stage for Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit is bound with India’s modern history. As the sister of Jawaharlal Nehru, Pandit’s Indian nationalism ran through her veins, and she was imprisoned three times by the British during the struggle for independence. Pandit went on to become the first woman to hold a cabinet position under colonial rule. Post-independence she represented India as the young nation’s first ambassador to the Soviet Union before moving to ambassadorships to the United States, Mexico and Spain. In 1953 she became the first female president of the UN General Assembly.

INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY

Susan Strange

(1923–1998) Co-founder of the British International Studies Association

Susan Strange has been hailed as ‘a towering figure in British international relations and a world-leading thinker on international political economy’. With her background as a

Feminist foreign policy

THIS ISN,T JUST A WOMEN,S ISSUE

Sofia Calltorp on why a feminist foreign policy means benefits for all When Margot Wallström, our former minister for foreign affairs, declared in that Sweden was to pursue a feminist foreign policy many eyebrows were raised.

proportion of women managers is now close to per cent.

Less than eight years later, feminist foreign policy has been established as a new standard. Today, six other countries are pursuing this policy – Canada, France, Luxembourg, Spain, Mexico and just recently Germany.

There are several reasons for this extraordinary development. First is, of course, the situation for women and girls around the world and the will to do something about it. The full enjoyment of human rights for women and girls is the unfinished business of the last century.

All diplomats and civil servants view everything through a gender lens, taking an integrated and systematic approach to integrating gender equality into all policies and actions.

Our feminist foreign policy is comp l e t e l y i n t e g r a t ed i n t o t he da i l y operations of our more than diplomatic missions abroad. In my previous post as Ambassador to Zimbabwe, gender issues were at the centre of all our endeavours, from ministerial discussions to cooperation with trade partners and our development cooperation projects.

Unfortunately, the pandemic risks rolling back progress on global gender equality. Combined with the effects of climate change and a shrinking democratic space in many contexts, the situation is serious.

Gender equality is the fundamental prerequisite if we are to achieve our foreign policy goals. Sustainable peace, security and the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved if we exclude half of the population.

This is not just a ‘women’s issue’. All of society benefit.

Our progress has been remarkable. When I started in my role as Ambassador for Sweden’s feminist foreign policy six months ago, I was struck by the overwhelming cultural shift that has taken place in the Swedish foreign service.

It has led to a strategic approach to staffing. A review of the entire chain of recruitment, leadership programmes and the process of appointing managers was undertaken. As a result, we have seen an increase in women managers and the

In practical terms, Sweden has organized its feminist foreign policy around three Rs: rights, representation and resources. This is the framework we use when analysing the contexts in which we work. What do statistics say about disparities between women and men, girls and boys? Do they have the same rights to education, work, inheritance, marriage and divorce? Are they represented where decisions are made in parliaments, local councils and other political arenas? Is gender equality considered when resources are allocated in central budgets or development assistance projects?

On the global stage, during Sweden’s term as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council we consistently promoted the integration of the gender perspective into the day-to-day work of the council, in all geographical and thematic contexts and in talks on resolutions and declarations. We invited reporting by women’s rights organizations to inform the Security Council of the situation of women and girls in various conflict

I LOA N

L

IA R

16

My Bookmarks


Skip to main content