Germany's Feminist Foreign and Development Policy

19 March 2023

An exploration of the need for changes in relations with the South Caucasus

Following a corresponding affirmation in the 2021 Coalition Agreement, Germany’s Federal Foreign Office and Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation are developing the first comprehensive guidelines for a Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP). Sonja Schiffers, director the South Caucasus Office of the Böll-Stiftung and Bucerius-fellow, explores earlier efforts for gender equality oriented foreign policy, the contents of the new FFP paradigm and the possible practice of a feminist foreign policy in Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. (Picture: © Makalu/Pixabay)

"The German government is in the process of spelling out a feminist foreign and development policy. This article, aimed at contributing to policy changes based on the new paradigm, suggests how Germany’s policy towards Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, whose political relevance has increased for Berlin due to Russia’s war in Ukraine, could become feminist. It recommends that Germany steps up its support for civil society and human rights in the region, ensures feedback loops to its policies from diverse local groups, becomes a strong ally for gender equality and LGBTQI rights, and puts its political weight behind the promotion of lasting peace.

The 2021 coalition agreement between the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens, and the Liberals (FDP) stipulates that together with its partners, Germany "want[s] to strengthen the rights, resources, and representation of women and girls worldwide and promote social diversity in the spirit of a Feminist Foreign Policy." Now, the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development are developing corresponding guidelines. The Foreign Office plans to apply a 3R+D approach to promote "the rights, representation, and resources of women and marginalized groups, as well as to enhance diversity." The Development Ministry uses more comprehensive and political language, stating that "feminist development policy is centered around all people and tackles the root causes of injustice such as power relations between genders, social norms, and role models." Moreover, Development Minister Svenja Schulze announced plans to "increase the share of bilateral Development Ministry funding that contributes to gender equality as a principal or significant objective – from its current level of about 60 per cent to a level of 93 per cent" and to "double the share of projects that pursue gender equality as their principal objective." Since the two ministries' feminist strategies are still in the drafting process, it is yet unclear how exactly their policies will be spelled out."