An 80-page catalog full of guidelines and her own ambassador: Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) wants to anchor the concept of feminist foreign policy as a working principle in the Federal Foreign Office.
"Women's rights are an indicator of the state of our societies," writes the Green politician in the foreword to the guidelines that are available to the German Press Agency and are to be presented in Berlin this Wednesday. The concept should also apply to project funding and humanitarian aid.
Baerbock wants to present the new approaches after the cabinet meeting together with Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD). A government decision is not necessary for this. A panel discussion with representatives from civil society, science and international organizations is then planned for the Federal Foreign Office.
"We are pursuing a feminist foreign policy because it is sorely needed. Because men and women worldwide are still not equal," says Baerbock, explaining the new approach. It's not about "foreign policy for women, but for all members of a society". The concept is an integral part of value-based foreign policy and should also be reflected in the planned national security strategy "in the sense of a comprehensive understanding of security".
Schulze with feminist development policy
Minister Schulze wants to present a separate concept for feminist development policy. By 2025, more than 90 percent of the newly committed project funds are to flow into projects that advance gender equality. The concept of feminist development policy should be anchored in cooperation with partner countries. At least 50 percent of management positions in the development ministry should be filled by women.
Foreign Policy: Impact on Projects and Humanitarian Aid
According to Baerbock, the goal of feminist foreign policy is to spend 85 percent of project funds "gender-sensitively" by the end of the legislative period, so that women's concerns are included. In the case of humanitarian aid, for example, account should be taken of the fact that women need different hygiene items than men, for example. Eight percent of the funds should be paid in a "gender-transformative" way, so that there is an active transformation of the projects towards more women's participation. Two thirds of the total budget of around 7.5 billion euros are project funds, these around 5 billion euros are to be spent in the future under the heading of gender budgeting.
One can read in six guidelines for foreign policy action that "we integrate the perspectives of women and marginalized groups in our worldwide work for peace and security".
The guideline on climate and energy foreign policy states: "Women and various social groups are important actors and leaders in our climate and energy diplomacy. We help to balance the specific effects of the climate crisis on women and marginalized groups." According to the United Nations, in 2021 up to 80 percent of people who had to flee due to climate-related disasters were women.
"Overcoming historical power structures"
Baerbock wants to name "historically grown power structures", overcome them "and thus promote fair participation and equality for all people worldwide". "More participation by women brings greater security," says the paper. In the future, women and so-called marginalized groups should have equal access to financial, human and natural resources.
What should change in the Federal Foreign Office
The guidelines should "mainstream our actions as a team at the Federal Foreign Office, in our national foreign policy, in the European Union and in international forums," writes Baerbock. The guidelines should "shape our inner working methods and help us to develop a "feminist reflex". To put it plainly: Baerbock is telling her diplomats that feminist foreign policy should have priority in the future.
"Mainstreaming" is to play a key role in the ministry's new working methods and structures. For this purpose, Baerbock wants to create the post of "Ambassador of the Federal Foreign Office for Feminist Foreign Policy" from the summer, in order to have an internal effect. "We will work hard to give our foreign service a more feminine face and to increase the proportion of women in managerial positions," she announces. When they are hired, it should be checked whether applicants have gender equality and diversity skills.
How is it in AA so far?
According to the Federal Foreign Office, 49.8 percent of employees are currently women. 27 percent of the 226 German missions abroad are headed by women. Compared to 2021, the proportion of women in management positions in the higher service last year increased by almost 3 points to 26 percent.