Updated: Jul 11
Spain was the sixth country to adopt a Feminist Foreign Policy in March 2021. It published a Guide to Feminist Foreign Policy, which is intended as a framework for the practical implementation of a feminist public policy to align national and foreign policies and actions to strengthen its commitment to women and girls. Spain’s Feminist Foreign Policy suggests that it aims to advance feminist diplomacy and multilateral policies as its key areas of focus, through “a two-pronged approach, strengthening the priority lines of work of the Foreign Service, while mainstreaming the gender perspective into all phases of foreign policy as well as into all its actions.”
Spain’s Feminist Foreign Policy will be guided by five principles:
- Structural reform to change work practices and institutional culture within the Foreign Service, while mainstreaming a gender perspective in every action through a “transformational approach” to ensure coherence across all areas of external action;”
- Strong leadership across its Foreign Services to incorporate the foreign policy framework into its management and budget processes.
- Setting up coordination mechanisms to enhance ownership and implementation of the feminist foreign policy among different stakeholders.
- Strengthening participation and alliance building to unite state efforts toward gender equality, including arriving at a consensus on the policy with civil society and other relevant ministerial stakeholders.
- Intersectionality and diversity, with a focus on gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, religious belief as well as disability and place of origin.
The Spanish Feminist Foreign Policy intends to apply these five principles across several priority areas that include trade, defence, climate action, and economic justice, aside from the human rights of women and girls. The five principles are intended to achieve the following goals:
- Gender mainstreaming across all foreign policy instruments and actions, in areas such as climate change, bilateral relations, and other aspects of foreign policy development.
- Gender equality through regional initiatives by strengthening ties with civil society, partners, and alliances through the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development.
- Advancement of women’s leadership and political participation in the peace and security contexts.
- Advocating for gender equality within the European Union by promoting gender equality instruments, advocating for women’s human rights, and developing and implementing the EU's Action Plan on Women.
- Deepening its existing comments through multilateral diplomacy by supporting initiatives and agendas on gender equality, improving collaboration with international organizations, and encouraging women’s leadership and participation across international agencies and organizations.
Spain’s Feminist Foreign Policy also mandates the implementation of structural changes in the Foreign Services in order to align internal practices with principles of equity and equal opportunity, including embedding a gender lens in activities, initiatives, and action plans in its COVID response strategy. Though its policies and plans are not clearly outlined in the Guidelines, titled “Politica Exterior Feminista,” the policy is very clear about the importance of the domestic-foreign policy congruence on women’s rights.
In pursuit of this, Spain ratified the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Convention 190 (C190) to recognize the rights of all workers and prevent gender-based violence and harassment and invested tremendous effort to increase women’s parliamentary and ministerial representation (Global Gender Gap Report, 2020). The guidelines also mandate public reportage on the implementation process, to be submitted to the Parliament and discussed with relevant stakeholders, including civil society. It aims at the creation of an advisory group to inform future priorities and action points, and also commits to the collection of gender disaggregated data. In terms of its development assistance, 15% of Spain’s ODA for 2019 targeted gender as a principal goal.
1) ICRW, Defining Feminist Foreign Policy: A 2021 Update
2) Spain – Feminist Foreign Policy / Política Exterior Feminista https://redyellowblue.org/feminist-foreign-policy/es/
3) Feminist Foreign Policy https://www.exteriores.gob.es/en/PoliticaExterior/Paginas/PoliticaExteriorFeminista.aspx
4) Spain's Feminist Foreign Policy: Promoting Gender Equality in Spain's External Action https://rm.coe.int/2021-02-politica-exterior-feminista-eng/1680a287c3