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Germany’s foreign and development ministers on Wednesday presented new feminist foreign policy guidelines that are supposed to ensure that all people “have the same right to representation and access to resources.”
The government policy focuses on considering and supporting the needs of women and girls in foreign affairs decisions, with a goal of erasing discrimination and thereby promoting more stable societies, the ministers said.
“We are not calling for a revolution here, but we are doing something that is self-evident,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters in Berlin.
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“Feminist foreign policy runs through all areas of our foreign policy actions from humanitarian aid to stabilization measures, peace missions and also foreign culture and education policy,” Baerbock added.
“We want to make societies fairer. And you can’t do without half of the potential, namely women, but they have to be taken into account,” Development Minister Svenja Schulze said.
Several countries have implemented feminist foreign policies, a concept which in theory means protecting human rights and promoting meaningful participation in decision-making by women and other, often marginalized groups.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock briefs the media to present the government’s new feminist foreign policy guidelines in Berlin on March 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Such policies typically state that women and girls must be protected from violence, and able to claim their rights and take part in political decisions, with sufficient resources provided for them to achieve these goals.
The guidelines for a feminist development policy in Germany stipulate that in the future, more than 90% of newly committed project funds should flow into global projects that also advance gender equality. In 2021, the figure was around 64%, German news agency dpa reported.
Baerbock stressed that the government’s new foreign policy guidelines also include reaching more gender parity at home, specifically at the German foreign office, where currently only 26% of ambassadors are female.
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“We see that we can learn a lot from other countries,” the foreign minister said, adding that about 30 countries, “from Chile to Spain to Mongolia,” have committed themselves to a feminist foreign policy
Schulze said societies with more equality struggle less with hunger and poverty and are more stable overall.
“That’s why it’s simply a matter of common sense to pay particular attention in development policy to ensuring that women also have rights, that they have resources and that they are also represented,” Schulze said.
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The German nongovernmental organization Welthungerhilfe, which supports aid projects across Africa, Latin America and Asia, lauded the development ministry’s initiative but criticized that it was not clear how the feminist guidelines would be implemented concretely and how they would be financed.
“The question of funding remains a blank. Local civil society organizations must be adequately financed and must be able to access funds easily,” the group said in a statement. “How this is to be done remains an open question.”