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A road-map for including a gender dimension in foreign policy

Council of Europe member States should ensure a gender dimension in their foreign policies, by promoting inclusiveness, equality and non-discrimination, in order to counter the backlash against women’s rights, according to PACE’s Standing Committee.

Unanimously approving a report by Petra Stienen (Netherlands, ALDE) during a meeting by videoconference today, the committee highlighted the example of Sweden's feminist foreign policy, which has inspired other countries to use their foreign policies as a political tool to promote women's rights.

The COVID-19 pandemic had revealed inequalities, the parliamentarians said, pointing out that the social and economic consequences of the pandemic had had “a disproportionately negative impact on women” and had driven an alarming rise in domestic violence.

Women should be an integral part of the response to this crisis, the committee said, by being “meaningfully involved in all decision-making processes to manage the aftermath and put in place strategies to tackle future crises”.

The parliamentarians proposed a series of measures to include the gender dimension in foreign policy, such as facilitating women's participation in diplomatic careers, promoting gender mainstreaming in the functioning of public administrations, and providing financial support for programmes protecting women's rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights.