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Feminist foreign policy situations. Last year, this systematic approach was taken forward during the Swedish term as chair of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and will continue throughout our presidency of the council of the European Union in .

Even trade agreements are analysed in terms of gender under our feminist trade policy.

Strong political leadership is needed, and it takes courage and patience. This leadership needs to be combined with clear ownership and lines of responsibility at all levels. A gender perspective must be integrated into systems, processes and responsibility structures.

Through our feminist foreign policy, we have achieved significant results. One example is Sweden’s establishment of a network of women mediators who are active all around the world, championing issues relating to women, peace and security. We have also substantially increased our financial support to gender equality initiatives. Today, about per cent of Swedish bilateral development aid is gender-mainstreamed or has gender equality as a main objective.

Dialogue with, protection of, and support for women’s rights organizations and women’s human rights defenders are key elements of Sweden’s feminist foreign policy. Sweden supports umbrella organizations for women’s rights groups that can offer support and protection to women human rights defenders worldwide, for example in countries such as Afghanistan, Indonesia, Syria and Pakistan.

Sweden is also a global champion of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and we are one of the largest donors to the UN Population Fund. This is important, not least in view of the resistance to gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights from various countries and movements. We have pushed for women’s economic empowerment as it is critical to gender equality. Sweden is currently co-leading an Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights within the UN initiative Generation Equality. In this coalition, we have committed to working to strengthen women’s economic empowerment over five years.

A lesson learnt from our feminist foreign policy work is that gender equality often arouses strong reactions. It touches upon key issues such as the distribution of power, resources and influence. It is important to be context-specific and to rely on research, experience and arguments that show that gender equality benefits society at large, for example in terms of social and economic development.

As long as the daily lives of women and girls around the world are marked by discrimination and systematic subordination, a feminist foreign policy is needed. A great deal of work remains to be done, but the progress over the past seven years shows that pursuing a feminist foreign policy makes a difference. Sofia Calltorp is the Ambassador for Gender Equality and Coordinator of the Feminist Foreign Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Sweden

MEXICO AIMS TO LEAD THE WAY

Daniela Philipson García on a unique opportunity for regional leadership on gender

In March , Victoria Salazar, a Salvadoran immigrant and single mother of two, died in Tulum, Mexico after a policewoman knelt on her back and broke her neck while three other officers watched.

A year before Salazar’s death, the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Affairs announced what could be a promising new era in tackling the challenges underlying Salazar’s killing. In January , Mexico became the first country in Latin America and the Global South to adopt a feminist foreign policy.

The reasoning for following the feminist approach is because ‘the feminist struggle for gender equality has been at the forefront of seeking the emancipation of society’s most vulnerable groups,’ according to Martha Delgado Peralta, the foreign ministry’s undersecretary for multilateral affairs and human rights. The aims of the new policy are to raise the profile of Mexico’s international leadership on gender; to ensure gender and intersectionality are embedded throughout Mexico’s foreign policy; and to promote gender parity among its staff. Additionally, it seeks to eliminate gender-based violence within the secretariat itself. A survey from the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, found that . per cent of Mexican women face genderbased violence in the workplace. While overly inward-looking, it is an acknowledgement that the foreign ministry must get its own house in order if it is to have a chance of achieving more ambitious goals abroad . What’s lacking are a framework, roadmaps and targets to measure success.

The circumstances that led to the killing of Salazar point to three issues that challenge Mexico and Latin America more broadly. To promote a feminist vision abroad, a feminist foreign policy in Mexico should address and finance long-term solutions to the issues that disproportionately harm women, chiefly gender-based violence, immigration and economic inequality.

For many of the country’s feminists, Mexico’s commitment to this approach rings hollow. In Mexico, ten women are killed each day. Many of these killings are considered femicides or hate-crime killings. Gender-based violence across Latin America is equally prevalent. According to the Wilson Centre, the region is home to of the countries in the world with the highest rate of femicide.

A feminist foreign policy in Mexico could

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