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Engaging The Global South In Shaping Feminist Foreign Policy

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feminist foreign policy

Introduction

IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi conducted an Online Certificate course on Emerging dimensions of India’s foreign Policy and Global Politics in the month of July 2022. IMPRI Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies (CIRSS)

This certificate course, spread over a period of three days, introduced the participants to India’s special position in the UNSC. The rise of India’s bid to secure a permanent member which has backed by five UNSC members – France, China, Russia, UK and US.

On the 2nd Day our speaker, Miss Nandita Baruah, Country representative at the Asia Foundation discussed the various facets of the feminist foreign policy.

Overview of the Presentation

Miss Nandita delineated the aspects of the Feminist foreign Policy and the Global South Perspectives that will shape its further course. She gave an overview of the basic principles and the responses to the proposition of the feminist foreign policy. The standpoint of various national actors was extensively discussed throughout the presentation. Multiple case studies and perspectives were utilized to enhance the understanding of the students.

What is Feminist Foreign Policy?

She made the students familiar with what the feminist foreign policy stands for and the developments around the same. Miss Baruah enlightened the students about the various initiatives around the world to discuss the feminist foreign policy. She shed light on the ideas of nations like Sweden, Mexico, Germany, Argentina and France. She gave multiple real-world instances of incorporating affirmative action and feminist foreign policy into practice.  An overview of the shift in the power dynamics across the globe was discussed. There was a discussion about the issues and challenges in the course of its implementation.

India and The Feminist Foreign Policy

Miss Nandita elaborated on feminist foreign policy explaining the Indian Foreign policy. She analyzed the benefits and the scope of the policy. She shared her experiences at Asia Foundation to highlight the need of a welfare centric foreign policy. She went on to explain the interplay of a feminist foreign policy within different sectors like Healthcare, Disaster Management, Trade and Education in great detail. Her lecture was full of insights and anecdotes from the real-world situations and case studies. She pitched this idea as an integral aspect of foreign policies around the world.

Feminist Foreign Policy for Healthcare

She emphasized on the benefits of such a policy for the women and the marginalized communities across the world. There is a need to use a gendered approach to healthcare assistance by the west. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it important for the nations to collaborate and mitigate challenges within the lenses of feminist foreign policy. A shared global strategy will streamline the healthcare management is integral. Miss Baruah highlighted the special position of the Global South and the benefits of a feminist foreign policy for the developing nation. This was explained in the light of soft diplomacy.

Feminist Foreign Policy for Disaster

The Global Standard Operating Procedures need to be prepared to mitigate disasters. The VUCA world is mired with disasters both man-made and natural.  Disasters are not limited to national boundaries. The impact might be localized or scattered which makes it necessary for the nations to adopt a collaborative approach on disaster management. She talked at lengths about how Women and children face added challenges in such times. A comprehensive strategy is needed to meet with the challenges. The Feminist foreign policy will also aid India’s image in the global platform. She suggested several aspects of adopting such a policy.

Feminist Foreign Policy for Trade

Miss Baruah focused on the global trend of utilizing a feminist vantage to combat the challenges in the modern world. She discussed about Germany’s Feminist foreign policy guidelines. She discussed how such a foreign policy has already been integrated into practice by multiple liberal democracies. The objectives are equal rights for women, equitable representation of women and equal access to resources. The foreign policy approach need to address the status of women entrepreneurs and empower them. She discussed the case of Women in data and STEM and its integration in the foreign policy. The global negotiations need to be centered around a feminist foreign policy.

Feminist Foreign Policy for Education

Miss Baruah also discussed how the status of Education can be leveraged. By gender budgeting, gender mainstreaming and incorporating diversity. India has a special position in the Global South. The negotiations around the world need to be centered around a feminist foreign policy. She discussed on how India can tap this opportunity and integrating the feminist foreign policy to bolster India’s position on the global dais.

Way Ahead

She concluded her enriching lecture quoting several case studies of countries like Sweden, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Argentina, Mexico and Germany. She focused on the creation of a global order which focuses on Gender, equality, climate change, peace and security. She shared her professional experience in this domain. There is a need for the internal policy to be in tandem with foreign policy. The main area of discussion remained Mexico’s affirmative action and gendered assistance program. She concluded with an overview of the lecture.

Acknowledgement: This article was posted by Ritika Sen, a research intern at IMPRI.

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IMPRI, a startup research think tank, is a platform for pro-active, independent, non-partisan and policy-based research. It contributes to debates and deliberations for action-based solutions to a host of strategic issues. IMPRI is committed to democracy, mobilization and community building.

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