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Fernanda Vazquez

What is feminist about Mexico's Foreign Policy?

- The Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, has commented that Mexico has a feminist government.

What is feminist about Mexico's Foreign Policy?

This is the last in a series of three articles that aim to explain and critically analyze [Sweden's] feminist foreign policies ( , Canada and Mexico.

In September 2019, during the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (AGONU), Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard announced that Mexico would adopt a feminist foreign policy; Some time later, in January 2020, the deployment of this “foreign policy that emphasizes gender equality”[1] was officially announced. In this way, Mexico became the first country in the global south to develop a feminist foreign policy and, therefore, it is necessary to review how feminist it is and how much it takes into account the demands of the country's feminist movements.

This policy has five axes or "principles" that constitute it:

  1. Foreign policy with a gender perspective and foreign feminist agenda Plus: this axis refers to Mexico's leadership abroad with a focus on substantive equality[2];
  2. An equal Ministry of Foreign Relations (SRE): seeks parity in positions within the Mexican Foreign Service (SEM) and within the SRE; in addition, it seeks an organizational reform to ensure equity;
  3. An SRE free of violence and safe for all: the aim is to eradicate gender violence and harassment within the secretariat;
  4. Equality is seen: This axis seeks the visibility and recognition of women within the SRE and their contributions;
  5. The SRE is an intersectional feminist: it is expected that all foreign policy positions, strategies, and actions contemplate an intersectional approach that takes into account the experiences, oppressions, and violence that each woman suffers.[3]

In addition to these axes, the Mexican government offers a definition of what it will understand by a Feminist Foreign Policy (PEF); establishes that it is a "set of principles that seek, from foreign policy, to guide government actions to reduce and eliminate structural differences, gaps and gender inequalities in order to build a more just and prosperous society"[[4\ ]](#_ftn4).

This PEF was born in a context in which the feminist movement has gained political relevance thanks to the conditions in which women live in this country and has also functioned as a counterweight to the decisions and opinions of the representative of the federal government; Mexico is a country in which close to 11 femicides occur daily[5] and in which only 1.5% of those responsible for these crimes are serving a sentence[[6]](# _ftn6); Furthermore, 66 out of every 100 women have suffered at least one incident of any type of violence[7].

Faced with this context, state public policies, and the speeches of those who represent the government, take on great relevance and are extremely necessary; However, like the feminist foreign policies that have been previously analyzed, the Mexican PEF also does not comply with its feminist nature stemming from the theory and the movement.


On the one hand, it has been established that a foreign policy, of any kind, has to be coherent internally and externally in actions and speeches. Article 89, section X, of the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States (CPEUM) establishes that the Federal Executive is the one in charge of directing foreign policy[8]; However, the President of the Republic, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), has shown on several occasions his rejection of the feminist movement and has minimized the problem of violence that afflicts women throughout the country[[9]] (#_ftn9), so there is a great inconsistency between what is sought with the PEF and what is done within the country.

The Mexican Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard, has commented that Mexico has a feminist government[10], but this could not be further from the truth when the demands of the feminist movements and when they are minimized. It is also important to mention that for the construction of this policy, feminist groups or organizations were not consulted, which establishes a biased vision of feminism in the country and its demands.

On the other hand, there is only one presentation or document that presents the axes that are sought with this PEF, as well as some of its objectives, but it does not establish how it is intended to achieve said objectives and neither do they present indicators that allow the progress and effectiveness of said policy to be measured; it also does not take into account a definition of feminism and, like the other case studies, it does not take into account the existence of systems of oppression. Although this document is important because, in some way, it describes what said policy is, it is not a formal or official document that provides more information on its design and implementation.

In addition to the above, outside axis 1 related to the mainstreaming of the human rights approach, gender perspective and intersectionality positions, resolutions, agreements, among others and the promotion of concrete actions in the foreign gender agenda such as United Nations events Linked to these issues, the Mexican PEF could well be a sectoral program of the SRE and the SEM because it does not take into account more actions abroad, unlike the PEF of Sweden or Canada.

The efforts of Mexico to establish policies with a gender perspective with an intersectional approach are necessary; however, they are useless when the demands and voices of the feminist movement are not taken into account and when, furthermore, they are not consistent with the actions or speeches within the country. It has been mentioned that Mexico has a parity government and the largest number of women parliamentarians in countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and, although this contributes to the eradication of gaps in the country, it does not make it a feminist country and less when the president minimizes an issue as serious as femicide violence.

The Mexican government has dedicated itself to preaching a speech that undoubtedly sounds very encouraging, but it is important to mention that this has not been able to be translated into concrete actions that improve the lives of Mexican women in any area. Like the governments of the PEFs that we previously analyzed, for this Mexican policy to work, it is necessary for the Mexican government to have a political will that allows reforming the institutions to make a real change that is consistent with what is sought from within the country abroad and that, in addition, there is a restructuring and understanding of the concepts and slogans of all feminisms, not only the liberal one by emphasizing "gender equity" that does not change the lives of women.

“Don't think about making women fit the world, think about making the world fit women.”

Gloria Steinman


    [\[1\]](#_ftnref1) Martha Delgado Peralta, “La política exterior feminista de México y la agenda de la sostenibilidad 2030”, _Revista Mexicana de Política Exterior,_ no. 118 (2020), p. 131, []( (Consultado el 15 de marzo de 2021);

    [\[2\]](#_ftnref2) La ley General para la Igualdad entre Mujeres y Hombres define la igualdad sustantiva como: “el acceso al mismo trato y oportunidades para el reconocimiento, goce o ejercicio de los derechos humanos y las libertades fundamentales”;

    [\[3\]](#_ftnref3) Subsecretaría para Asuntos Multilaterales y Derechos Humanos, “La Política Exterior Feminista del Gobierno de México”, [\_n\_PEF\_baja.pdf]( (Consultado el 15 de marzo de 2021);

    [\[4\]](#_ftnref4) Ibidem;

    [\[5\]](#_ftnref5) Carina García y Horacio Jiménez, “Hay entre 10 y 11 feminicidios cada 24 horas en México pese a contigencia”, 22 de abril de 2020, El Universal. []( (Consultado el 16 de marzo de 2021);

    [\[6\]](#_ftnref6) Mexicanos contra la Corrupción y la Impunidad, “Ellas tienen nombre”. []( (Consultado el 16 de marzo de 2021);

    [\[7\]](#_ftnref7) Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (INEGI), “Estadísticas a propósito del Día Internacional de la Eliminación de la Violencia contra la Mujer”, [\_Nal.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2hD5mR1ZesgmWv1zCf6Ww1ms\_ohgA2ubrA9whsw1jFfMcI-iHKuUyOHbA]( (Consultado el 16 de marzo de 2021);

    [\[8\]](#_ftnref8) Constitución Política de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (CPEUM). (Consultado el 16 de marzo de 2021);

    [\[9\]](#_ftnref9) José Melendez, “AMLO minimiza gravísima crisis de violencia de género: Amnistía Internacional para las Américas, El Universal. []( (Consultado el 16 de marzo de 2021);

    [\[10\]](#_ftnref10) Expasión política, “El gobierno de mexico es feminista: Marcelo Ebrard en la ONU”, 28 de septiembre de 2020, Expansión. []( (Consultado el 16 de marzo de 2021);

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Vazquez, Fernanda. “¿Qué tiene de feminista la Política Exterior de México?.” CEMERI, 16 ago. 2023,