France, Italy, and Spain, commitments to promote feminism in their foreign policy?

Temps de lecture : 3 minutes

Global crises have highlighted the importance of feminist foreign policies enabling the emergence of gender equality and the reduction of social and economic inequalities. The concept of “feminist foreign policy” also seeks to establish a new form of leadership, focused on collective responsibility and cooperation. 

Several countries have officially adopted a feminist foreign policy, this is notably the case of France and Spain. However, other heads of state have decided to promote traditionalist and conservative values, like Italy. 

The report “Spain, France and Italy, what commitments to promote feminism in their foreign policy? » examines in the form of a country sheet the context of adoption, specific axes, gender-related funding, strengths and limitations, and formulates recommendations to encourage governments to improve their feminist foreign policy. The objective of the Gender in Geopolitics Institute is to raise awareness among experts and civil society regarding the importance of gender equality in the development of foreign policies. 

Since 2018, France has implemented a strategy linked to feminist diplomacy, including measures taken in terms of sexual and reproductive rights. In addition, France’s feminist diplomacy is characterized by the growing increase in public development assistance relating to gender equality which increased by 7% between 2020 and 2021 and by 11% between 2021 and 2022. The same trend can be identified with regard to France’s contributions to international organizations, for example the government paid $1.8 million to UN Women in 2020, nearly $8 million in 2021 and $10 million in 2022. Nevertheless, France must make additional efforts with regard to the interministerial approach of its feminist diplomacy in order to be part of a transversal approach.

Spain has established an action plan (2023-2024) aimed at translating, through concrete actions, its commitment made in 2020 to the establishment of a feminist foreign policy. Spanish feminist foreign policy aims to be transversal, affecting, for example, sectors such as security, health and climate. However, a gap between domestic measures and international measures must be noted. If Spain has adopted several laws aimed at ensuring better representation of women within the national economic sphere, public development aid for gender linked to the economy and trade paid by Spain has increased from 22 million dollars to 12 million between 2020 and 2021. Nevertheless, during this same period public development assistance for gender linked to governance and civil society increased by 25 million dollars. 

In Italy, since the far right came to power in 2022, which is guided by conservative values, a decline in the rights of women and minorities has been noted. Public development assistance for gender linked to the Women, Peace and Security Agenda was halved between 2020 and 2021, going from $5.8 million to $2.9 million. Likewise, Italy’s contribution to UNDP increased from $75 million in 2020 to $21 million in 2021. However, the country has implemented, at the national level, a strategy aimed at promoting equality between women and men for the period 2021-2025. 

The development of a feminist foreign policy is crucial for global peace and support for development. It involves that national governments have to make concrete commitments. The evolution of the measures adopted by France and Spain in terms of gender equality shows progress, although shortcomings persist, particularly with regard to the coherence of internal and external policies. The case of Italy exposes the dangers of rising nationalism and conservatism in Europe. In this sense, the European Union must participate in the harmonization and promotion of committed feminist foreign policies.

To read the report : France, Italy and Spain, commitments to promote feminism in their foreign policy

To quote the report : Lucie Coquisart, Nina Nerva, Déborah Rouach dir., (01.03.2024), “France, Italy, and Spain, commitments to promote feminism in their foreign policy?”, Gender in Geopolitics Institute,