Gender equality

Project Leader Interview: Lyric Thompson, Global Network on Feminist Foreign Policy

27 February 2023

Three questions with Lyric Thompson

In spite of the advances in the field of gender equality, some threats and dynamics persist to question this progress and acquired rights. However, new approaches are emerging, bringing a new perspective to policies as explains Lyric Thompson, CEO of Feminist Foreign Policy Collaborative, project leader of the Global Network on Feminist Foreign Policy, one of the 2023 PPF Scale-up projects.

What does a feminist foreign policy (FFP) look like in practice and what does it change for diplomacy and more concretely for women?

Lyric Thompson: In practice, a feminist approach to foreign policy can look different depending on the country. But it generally means that governments put in place policies and protections to protect women’s rights to advance gender equality; that a government devotes resources, like appropriate budget and staffing, to the agenda; that governments commit to things like paid parental leave and pay parity, that they increase the number of gender advisors, and more intentionally include civil society voices in policymaking. Ultimately, the implementation of this approach would ensure that gender and equity are at the center of foreign policy decisions and contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable world.

The implementation of [feminist foreign policy] would ensure that gender and equity are at the center of foreign policy decisions and contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable world.

Lyric Thompson • CEO of Feminist Foreign Policy Collaborative, and project leader of the Global Network on Feminist Foreign Policy

You are working to develop a common framework for feminist foreign policy: what are the main features of this global framework and who has already endorsed it?

LT: Through the Global Partner Network for Feminist Foreign Policy, we are actively working to refine the definition of what it means to implement a feminist foreign policy and to provide a comprehensive framework for how governments can do it well. Currently, the framework highlights five key ingredients: articulating a purpose or goal for why they are creating a feminist foreign policy, defining what a feminist foreign policy is, stating the scope of the policy, the clear articulation of intended outcomes, and a plan to operationalize. So far, thirteen governments have committed to implementing a feminist foreign policy, although they are all at different phases in their journey, and more than 40 civil society groups have endorsed this approach.

What is the current status of your initiative and what are your main milestones for 2023?

LT: Several of our steering committee members and I just published a piece outlining the accomplishments and impact of the Swedish Feminist Foreign Policy in a Swedish newspaper and Ms. Magazine. Women’s month is always big for us; you’ll find our experts and members at the Commission on the Status of Women in March, where we’re launching research and hosting events. Women Deliver is a major women’s rights conference in Kigali in June, and the United Nations General Assembly meetings are held in September. We’re also looking forward to hosting Global Partner Network members in the Netherlands in September, on the sidelines of a foreign ministers meeting on FFP, to bring together individuals inside and outside of government to help advance feminist approaches to foreign policy around the globe. And of course, we’ll always have Paris in November.