Mexico Welcomes the Feminist Foreign Policy Summit Following Historic Election

The Summit, Previously Hosted in Europe, Makes Its Debut in Latin America

The spotlight will be on feminist foreign policy as ministers, special envoys, high-level officials, civil society, and academia from around the globe gather for the third Feminist Foreign Policy Summit in Mexico City. Previously hosted by Germany and the Netherlands, this year marks the first time the Summit will be hosted in Latin America. The Summit arrives in Mexico following the nation’s election of its first female President and four years after it became the first Latin American country to adopt a feminist foreign policy.

Organized by the Mexican Foreign Ministry, together with the National Women’s Institute (INMUJERES) and UN Women, the Summit will identify measures to address gender gaps and advance feminist approaches to international forums, such as Summit of the Future. It will also create a platform to share experiences, best practices, and challenges related to implementing feminist foreign policies,

“The Summit marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of feminist foreign policies. It is a monumental step forward for Latin America and the global pursuit of gender equality,” said Lyric Thompson, founder, and chief executive of the Feminist Foreign Policy Collaborative, which provides space for feminists working across government, civil society, and philanthropy to collectively strategize and advance feminist approaches to foreign policy. “Incorporating women into a country’s foreign policy, and prioritizing diplomacy, gender equality and environmental integrity fosters more enduring peace and economic prosperity.”

In fact, a global study of United Nations Security Council resolutions found that women’s participation in the peace-building process increased the likelihood that a peace agreement would last at least two years by 20 percent, and increased the probability it would last 15 years by 35 percent. Gender equality is also correlated with broader peace and stability: Countries with higher gender equality are more likely to comply with international laws and treaties and less likely to use violence as a first response in a conflict setting. Economically, a 2015 report from McKinsey found that true global gender equality would raise global gross domestic product by up to $28 trillion.

Since its introduction in Sweden in 2014, the concept of feminist foreign policy has seen significant adoption, with 16 governments formally embracing this framework. This approach to international relations and diplomacy prioritizes gender equality and women’s rights, showcasing a global commitment to these crucial values. While some countries that initially adopted feminist foreign policies have since opted out, the overall momentum and dedication to gender-focused international policies have remained strong. In just a decade, this concept has become a global tool for governments and civil society to articulate their commitment to prioritizing both people and the planet over battles for economic and military dominance. It has placed focus on collaboration over competition and power together rather than power over.

“What feminist foreign policy looks like in practice varies from country to country,” said Thompson. “Since 2018, we have been working with more than a dozen governments pursuing a feminist foreign policy, co-creating a definition and framework together with government officials, activists, academics, and advocates, and working to foster bilateral and multilateral cooperation by this growing cohort of countries.”

For example, Germany has pledged to almost double its international assistance contributing to ns gender equality. Canada and Slovenia have met or exceeded gender parity in their diplomatic or ambassador corps. Meanwhile, France, Spain, and Colombia have set up feminist activist boards to advise their governments. The Netherlands, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, commissioned a review on racism in the foreign ministry.

While feminist foreign policy has seen exponential growth over the last decade, it faces significant challenges in a number of countries. In Sudan, where women had recently been on the frontlines of peace, nine months of reignited civil war have caused the largest internal displacement crisis in the world. In Afghanistan, women are once again denied basic rights and relegated to the margins of society, while the economy and access to essential needs deteriorate. Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine will soon enter its third year, becoming another of the world’s protracted–if not forgotten–conflicts. And, violence continues to escalate in the Middle East, where the October 7th attacks by Hamas and the force of Israel’s ensuing response in Gaza have wrought massive death, destruction and now, famine, dramatically reshaping the geopolitical landscape in the region and around the world. Additionally, reproductive and trans rights are under attack in the United States and around the world, where the right wing has gathered strength while promoting rights rollbacks and increased restrictions on immigration.

“The rise of right-wing governments in historically progressive countries not only endangers women’s rights but also commitments to feminist foreign policies, and potentially, feminist activists and officials who have advanced them,” said Thompson. “The Summit in Mexico provides a crucial opportunity to sustain momentum, particularly at a time when progressive policymaking is facing significant global challenges.”

To maintain the momentum for feminist foreign policy between international forums, the Collaborative is launching a Visiting Fellows Program at the Summit. This program will provide a platform for senior leaders in feminist foreign policy from around the world to reflect, research, convene, and engage on key challenges of the moment.

The inaugural cohort will feature former Argentine Ambassador for Feminist Foreign Policy, Marita Perceval, and former Equality Fund Vice President for Policy, Beth Woroniuk. Together, they will investigate key issues facing the field today: ensuring the sustainability of feminist foreign policy achievements, and securing adequate, sustained funding for gender equality in a budget-constrained environment.

The Summit will take place July 1-3 at the Mexican foreign ministry in Mexico City. Discussions will focus on the upcoming Summit for the Future, to be held at the UN General Assembly in New York this September. Specific themes include women’s role in the economy, gender dynamics in international peace and security, and bridging the gap with feminist foreign policy in science, tech, and digital cooperation.

The Feminist Foreign Policy Collaborative (the Collaborative) is a shared space for feminists working across government, civil society and philanthropy to collectively strategize and advance feminist approaches to foreign policy. The Collaborative works in a secretariat capacity supporting the work of two coalitions: the Global Partner Network for Feminist Foreign Policy and the Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States. The Global Partner Network for Feminist Foreign Policy (the Global Partner Network) is an informal body of more than 80 organizations and governments working on feminist foreign policy around the world; the Coalition for a Feminist Foreign Policy in the United States (the U.S. Coalition) unites more than 80 organizations advancing a more feminist foreign policy in the United States.