Feminist Foreign Policy: Is it Still Considered Nonsense?

news 10-Jun-2023 World News

"No Peace Without Women"

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has made feminist foreign policy the guiding principle of her conduct in office. On her trip to Latin America, she learned how to implement this policy against all odds.

Feminist Foreign Policy in Action

The term "feminist foreign policy" is what Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock wants to be associated with during her time in office. During her trip to Latin America from Brazil to Panama, this principle runs like a thread through all her meetings. She meets people who are more progressive than many of their counterparts in Germany.

Baerbock visibly recoils as she stands beside Colombian Vice President Francia Marquez during a press conference and Marquez is asked about the latest racist remarks due to her skin color. You can see how shocked the Foreign Minister is about the daily struggles that Marquez has to endure. Baerbock expresses her full solidarity with Marquez and strongly condemns any racist attacks.

One can tell that Baerbock is affected by the challenges and feels the gender-based resistance in Colombia where women still face difficulties to hold political positions. The Colombian Vice President is a strong woman and has fought many battles. Baerbock suddenly finds herself in a different political environment: political advisors, a female delegation - this is not what she is used to in the male-dominated Berlin political scene.

Practical Feminism in Colombia

Francia Marquez survived multiple assassination attempts, and nobody knows exactly where she lives. She is black and belongs to a minority in Colombia. The wealthy areas of Bogota see her as a good housekeeper, but not as a high-ranking politician.

Marquez says that people don't want women like her in politics, and she faces a great feminist hatred. She belongs to a generation that has never experienced peace in Colombia, which has suffered from a 50-year-long civil war. However, she is determined to bring peace to the country. During her visit to Cali, Baerbock emphasized that the involvement of women in such processes is essential. Without women, there can be no peace.

Everything is interconnected. Without peace, there can be no climate protection, and without climate protection, no sustainable development is possible. Climate protection was a major theme of discussions during Baerbock's trip.

Climate Change in Panama and Colombia

Several countries are well prepared to lead the way in the energy revolution. Colombia plans to exit coal by 2030 and is seeking "know-how" from Germany. This pleases the German Foreign Minister. Climate policy and feminist foreign policy combined - could be the way forward everywhere according to Baerbock.

The trip's common theme was the combination of strong women and the willingness to protect the climate, whether in Colombia or Panama. There, Foreign Minister Janaina Tewaney discussed hydrogen, new energies, and the importance of protecting the rainforest. The Panama Canal is also affected by climate change where too little water is available, leading to too little rainfall, having an impact on global trade. These alarming words leave Baerbock thoughtful.

Feminist Foreign Policy - Still Nonsense?

When the Foreign Minister makes such statements in Latin America, no one in the audience raises their eyebrows. The rejection of this policy is all too familiar to Baerbock in Germany. It was Union faction leader Friedrich Merz who shouted to Baerbock in the Bundestag just over a year ago that she could certainly pursue feminist foreign policy if she wanted, but not with the budget for the Bundeswehr.

As Baerbock prepared to respond, Merz laughed and clutched his chest. Later, he fell silent as Baerbock talked about how she listened to raped women in former Yugoslavia who thanked her for finally listening to them. Merz has never tried to ridicule the topic again since.

Living Independence in Brazil

The women living in the Amazon Delta smile when Baerbock tells them that Germany is now pursuing a feminist foreign policy. Projects like hers - the cultivation and marketing of cocoa and acai in the rainforest of Combu - should be "gender-sensitive" supported.

What the foreign minister wants is already being lived here: only what they need is sustainably grown. They earn 300 euros a year without any men, who work in the factory.

Latin America Ahead of Germany

As Francia Marquez, the Vice President of Colombia, goes up on stage in Cali to receive the UNIDAS Award - an award from the German-Latin American Women's Network for which the German Foreign Minister has taken the patronage - security guards surround the stage.

She proudly and confidently tells the story of how she defended peace for 20 years despite constantly being threatened with murder. At the end of the event, both women embrace. Annalena Baerbock has great respect for this woman of the same age. She says Latin America is far ahead of Germany in feminist foreign policy.

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