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Fernanda Vazquez

How feminist is Spain's feminist foreign policy?

- In terms of feminism, Spain is one of the leading countries in terms of the feminist movement and theory.

How feminist is Spain's feminist foreign policy?

In mid-March 2021, Spain announced the adoption of a feminist foreign policy (PEF) and, at the same time, launched the Feminist Foreign Policy Guide, which describes the objectives and scope of the implementation of said policy. In this way, "Spain joins the vanguard countries that incorporate gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as a distinctive element of their foreign policy"[1].

This country will have a double approach in the development of its foreign policy: on the one hand, priority lines will be worked with the Foreign Service and, on the other, the phases of said policy will be executed with a gender perspective. Thus, this policy will be guided by five guiding elements:

  1. Transformative approach: it will seek to promote deep and structural changes in institutional work so that they adopt a transversal and systematic gender perspective;
  2. Committed leadership: the Foreign Service will integrate the principle of equality in its priorities to ensure resources, of all kinds, within the framework of the execution of the PEF;
  3. Ownership: Ownership of this policy will be encouraged among members of the Foreign Service, so that people in leadership positions will have the obligation to promote gender equality;
  4. Inclusive participation and promotion of alliances: This PEF will be executed together with other Ministries of the country, especially with the Ministry of Equality. In addition, channels will be established with the private sector, think tanks, civil society organizations, among others and, at the international level, international networks on gender equality will be promoted and this axis will be established in the international cooperation that the country offers;
  5. Intersectionality and diversity: The intersectional perspective will be established in all areas of this PEF.[2]

These elements will be applied to five main themes: a) Women, peace and security, b) Violence against women and girls, c) Human rights of women and girls, **d) ** Participation of women in decision-making spaces and e) Economic justice and women's empowerment; which, in turn, are intended to be achieved through various instruments and levels of government, for example: bilateral, regional and multilateral diplomacy, the European Union, international cooperation, consular assistance and protection, among others.

Being a new PEF, there are still no evaluations in its design and execution; However, it is important to mention that, like the four foreign policies previously analyzed, it does not provide a definition of what will be understood by feminism or feminist foreign policy and, returning to feminist elements, it does not contemplate the existence of systems of oppression either. especially the patriarchy. With the above, it is crucial to reinforce the idea that feminism is more than the application of a gender perspective in all areas, feminism is the awareness of said systems of oppression and the political will to change the structures so that women can live a dignified life.

In terms of political elements, it seems to be, together with that of Sweden, one of the foreign policies of a feminist nature that takes more elements into account for its design and, above all, for its execution. The fact that they contemplated an element related to the transformation of the structures is an important step, however, it is necessary to monitor that this is so and not just a discourse; On the other hand, it is necessary to highlight the establishment of intersectionality as an element in the design of the PEF, since, until now, only the Mexican one considered it as a guiding axis.

In terms of feminism, Spain is one of the leading countries in terms of the feminist movement and theory; with cases such as "La manada", in which a woman was raped by five subjects[3], or the alarming figures of gender violence in which nearly 1000 are reported each month sexual assaults [4], the gender perspective and the creation of a PEF is extremely necessary.

However, as has been repeatedly mentioned, it is necessary for a foreign policy that calls itself feminist to take into account the existence of systems of oppression that promote violence, discrimination and oppression. As said above, the political will to change structures is extremely important, it is necessary that this be one of the key elements for the development of the PEF both internally and externally.

"Feminism touches the center of gravity of all power asymmetries." -Rita Segato.

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Vazquez, Fernanda. “¿Qué tan feminista es la política exterior feminista de España?.” CEMERI, 16 ago. 2023,