Sweden released a handbook of its “feminist foreign policy” for rights groups and foreign governments, showcasing lessons from the Scandinavian nation’s flagship approach to promoting women’s rights globally.
The manual, published on the government’s website in English weeks before a September 9 general election, is derived from four years of work to place gender equality at the heart of the country’s international agenda.
The manual is derived from four years of work to place gender equality at the heart of the country’s international agenda.
Sweden began its feminist foreign policy “in response to the discrimination and systematic subordination that still mark the daily lives of countless women and girls around the world”.
Its goals include the promotion of economic emancipation, fighting sexual violence and improving women’s political participation.
Projects cited in the manual include an action plan for five war-torn and post-conflict nations — Afghanistan, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and the Palestinian Territories — building in targets for women’s rights and empowerment for the first time.
The handbook highlights Sweden’s work in Congo to promote “positive masculinity” in the country, where it is has run initiatives such as promoting social media debate on men’s role in society.
It’s “too early” to draw any conclusions about whether the feminist approach leads to significant change. While gender equality was “an object in itself”, it is “essential” in achieving more general government objectives, like peace, security and sustainable development.