Foreign Policy
Toward a truly inclusive foreign and security policy for Europe

Conference Gender x Geopolitics

Gender equality is an important tool for better foreign and security policy. Not only is there a need for more representation of women, but female perspectives also help to make policies more sustainable, effective and fair. Without incorporating these perspectives, foreign and security policies are vulnerable to blind spots and short-sightedness. Therefore, we need a more inclusive approach to foreign and security policymaking on all levels.

These are some outcomes of a discussion of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation on gender-just foreign and security policies, which took place on 14 November in Brussels. In their keynote speeches, Anna Stürgkh (Member of District Council Wieden & Former JUNOS President) and Kira Rudik MP (Member of the Ukrainian Parliament, Golos Party Leader & ALDE Party Vice President) provided the first food for thought on the representation of women in politics and the role of gender in Russia’s war on Ukraine. The issues they touched upon were further explored in two panel discussions with Joanna Burnos (LEADERIS Institute), Rick Zednik (Women Political Leaders Board), Jéromine Andolfatto (European Women’s Lobby), Damjan Denkovski (Center for Feminist Foreign Policy) and Shada Islam (New Horizons Project & EUObserver Magazine).

At the conference, there was a lively discussion among the speakers on already existing initiatives to promote gender equality in foreign and security policy. From the different interpretations of feminist foreign policy to the Women, Peace and Security agenda, there is a wide range of policy options available for international policymakers to incorporate into their work. However, questions remain about which elements of these policies are most effective in addressing the gender issues at hand. Through analysing best (and bad) practices, we can get a better insight into what works (and what does not), which will help us with the next steps to shape a truly inclusive foreign and security policy for Europe.