Skip to main content

Feminist Foreign Policy: Robust framework to understand power mechanism in global order

By IMPRI Team 

A consultative workshop was organized by IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute in collaboration with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), India Office on Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP): Exploring India’s Position at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The workshop began with Dr Simi Mehta giving a brief background of the event, the theme, and the experts for the event. She mentioned that FFP is gaining ground as a result of peacebuilding and peacemaking measures around the world by transnational feminist solidarity.
She also said that the concept of FFP provides a robust framework to understand the power mechanism in the current global order. She then opened the floor for expert speakers while setting the agenda of the workshop by placing key aspects of the discussion into which the experts would delve. It included but was not limited to: the core concept of FFP, how inclusive FFP is, women’s role in Indian politics, countering gender-based violence and discrimination, United Nations (UN) Resolution 1325, etc. She also pointed to the Online Monsoon School Program on FFP, organized in the month of September 2022, where the deliberations around gender and international relations were held.
She invited the Deputy Director of FES India, Mr Richard Kaniewski, for opening remarks wherein he initiated by citing the example of Sweden as a front-runner in the formulation, establishment and practice of the FFP. He rationalized the workshop by reasoning that this approach highlights the values of women’s rights and gender equality as a central tenet of policy along with focusing on the structure of internal relations and diplomacy itself. He further elucidated that recent international dynamics enliven states like Germany which have inclined their foreign policy to be broadly based on feminist concepts, especially in the wake of the Ukraine war.
He contended that defining certain characteristics of behaviour according to special gender would produce stereotypes that are not very fruitful towards achieving gender equality, gender justice, as well as women’s rights in all parts of society. He advocated for leadership positions and roles for women in businesses, academics, administration and also in the international context. He further mentioned the four core ideas and values of democracy, elucidated by Germany’s first democratic leader, are- Freedom, Solidarity, Peace and Social Justice- underpinned by gender equality as one of the keystones to fulfilling these values. He ended his remarks by quoting the father of the German social democratic movement, “There is no liberation of humanity without social independence and gender equality”.
Prof KP Vijayalakshmi began by drawing attention to the conventional warfare and catastrophes that are back while indicating the war in Ukraine. Every government is blaming the whole world for the calamities, conflicts and trade that are affected by global headwinds. Prof Vijayalakshmi has been involved in promoting women’s participation at every level and believes that mainstreaming gender and decision-making is the only reason she undertook the task. She iterated that women are highly active in political systems, like exercising their voting rights, demanding political space and even in foreign policy or transnational politics, but remarked that the return of conventional warfare has severe consequences for them and their children.
She mentioned the concept of Women, Peace and Security (WPS) as part of the broader FFP framework and UN resolution 1325 which demanded more inclusive civil society groups and organisations at the global level for women. She elucidated three core pillars of inclusion of women – first, several reports of Inter-Parliamentary Units (IPUs) mentioned that women are marginalised in politics and/or less represented but this is not because of less participation of women; second, employing the multi-stakeholder approach has resulted in the growth of women and people from marginalised sections. But she questioned the qualitative change i.e., giving women responsible positions, like leading the peace delegation or defining the terms of the peace agreement.
She also iterated the binaries that undergird or contextualise women’s role in politics. She explained that equitable and intersectional societies will produce better and healthier societies for humans which social and economic indicators which would reduce the conflicts in the world. In describing the binary of women being mere participants and not changemakers, she mentioned that “the uterus demands a lot of responsibilities and every woman has one”. Third, FFP takes the bottoms-up approach and includes not only women’s rights but also advocates for other vulnerable sections of society. She ended by saying that managing conflicts is not enough, resolving them becomes the impact of FFP and calling out multilateral institutions to continue their advocacy for the agency of women to bring the FFP core values into society.
Ambassador Partha Ray negated the idea of FFP as a transatlantic concept and iterated that it took several years for western countries to institutionalise the Universal Adult Franchise since they democratise the government, he cited the example of France but India and Israel were only two countries which provided through constitution the Right to Vote for women as soon they declared independence. He shared anecdotes from his distinguished career as an ambassador.
Ms Prerna Singh discussed her experience as a citizens’ representative from North Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) from the Indian National Congress (INC) for over 10 years. She told that despite fifty per cent of seats being reserved for women at the municipal level, women’s participation is still low due to leadership positions being desirable for men; one of the binaries as a stereotype elucidated from her own experiences. She criticised the social setup that discourages and restricts women from participating in the political process by citing the binaries existing in society. For example, women are weak due to their biological ability to conceive and the social environment doesn’t allow women to work during pregnancy reimposing the binary.
The workshop concluded with a few participants asking pertinent questions from our panel of experts. This was followed by Dr Simi Mehta delivering a vote of thanks to all the experts and the attendees.
---
Click here for list of participants

Comments

TRENDING

Zakir Naik tumult, Catholic Church power abuse: will Anwar Ibrahim save Malaysia?

Anwar Ibrahim By Jay Ihsan*  Anwar Ibrahim, a hardcore reformist who took a punch to his eye in 1998 from then inspector-general of police, Rahim Noor, has finally been given the mandate by Malaysians to serve as the nation's 10th prime minister. Anwar knows too well the burden of staying true to both trust and faith the people have in him requires every once of commitment and dedication. The question is will he be apologetic for his transgressions enroute to "rebuilding" Malaysia? In his overzealousness to get the job done, Anwar, 75, needs to safeguard every bit of gumption to address prickling issues plaguing the safety of the nation especially those involving communal sensitivities. For one, dare Anwar get rid of terrorist hate preacher and fugitive Zakir Naik for inciting religious unrest in Malaysia? In November 2016, India’s counter-terrorism agency filed an official complaint against Naik, holding him responsible for promoting religious hatred and unlawful activi

Although sporting genius, Wasim Akram was mascot of cricket globalisation era

By Harsh Thakor*  Since Independence India and Pakistan produced a galaxy of cricketing stars that permeated cricketing artistry of legendary heights. Amongst this bunch.Wasim Akram manifested pure cricketing genius to the greatest height.I speculate how India’s fortunes would have changed had partition not taken place and Wasim playing for India. Wasim Akram explored realms untranscended in bowling wizardry, like a painter devising new art forms or a scientist experimenting. He simply re-defined the art of reverse swing, reversing the ball in and out. There were bowlers quicker, more accurate and with better records, but none equalled Wasim in an all-round package. He was more lethal with a new and old ball than any fast bowler ever. Wasim could produce balls that were surreal, with his reverse swing, defying laws of bio mechanics He was simply the epitome of versatility, possessing a repertoire of six different deliveries within an over itself, disguising deliveries in the manner of

Galileo-Catholic church affair: must history repeat at Malaysia’s St Francis Xavier church?

By Jay Ihsan*  Christianity is the enemy of liberation and civilization -August Bebel Christianity taught men that love is worth more than intelligence -Jacques Maritain Real Christianity can be summed up in two commands: Love God and love people. - Joyce Meyer Pious XI was too neutral to mention the gas chambers; decent people like my own family were turned into devils by crude Christianity - Lionel Blue Religious doctrines cannot escape the liberty of thoughts and expression. To each their own, so it is said. From all things nice to all things that make one cringe - religion is polarised and in this regard, Christianity has over time faced the wrath of bigotry espoused by those "bequeathed" to protect it. Take Pope Francis for example. He had a secret meeting with giant pharma Pfizer chief executive officer Albert Bourla last year while the world struggled to make sense of the word "lockdown" and suffer adverse effects of the Corona virus vaccines produced by Pfiz

Qatar World Cup has a strong Bangladesh connection: stadium construction, t-shirts

By Mashrur Siddique Bhuiyan*  The FIFA World Cup fever has unquestionably cut through the minds of mass people all over the world. Stadiums in Qatar are buzzing with football fans and athletes representing their countries at the “Greatest Show on Earth". The magic of the FIFA World Cup is so enormous that even being unable to participate does not matter much to the fans who support different nations. This is one of the highest viewed events in the world, with the 2018 event viewed by about 3.6 billion people worldwide. But this crowd is not aware of the contribution of migrant workers who helped build the very stadiums where the matches are playing in. Qatar won the bid in 2010 to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, which got the oxymoron of celebration and controversy. This also created the potential for Qatar to Showcase its monumental economic achievements and unique culture on the global stage. The motto for Qatar’s bid team in 2010 was ‘Expect Amazing’ and migrant workers across th

Floods: As ax falls on most vulnerable, Pak seeks debt cancellation, climate justice

By Tanupriya Singh  Even as the floodwaters have receded, the people of Pakistan are still trying to grapple with the death and devastation the floods have left in their wake. The floods that swept across the country between June and September have killed more than 1,700 people, injured more than 12,800, and displaced millions as of November 18. The scale of the destruction in Pakistan was still making itself apparent as the world headed to the United Nations climate conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.  Pakistan was one of two countries invited to co-chair the summit. It also served as chair of the Group of 77 (G77) and China for 2022, playing a critical role in ensuring that the establishment of a loss and damage fund was finally on the summit’s agenda, after decades of resistance by the Global North. “The dystopia has already come to our doorstep,” Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman told Reuters. By the first week of September, pleas for h

A classic, 'Gandhi' ignores merciless cruelty unleashed on militant freedom fighters

By Harsh Thakor  The movie ‘Gandhi’ produced by Richard Attenborough, which was released 40 years ago on November 30th, 1982, was classic in it's own right. Ironical that it took an Englishman to embark upon the making of a film on this legendary figure. I can't visualize a better pictorial portrayal of Gandhi's life or an actor getting in the skin of the character an exuding the mannerisms as actor Ben Kingsley. Episodes are crafted and grafted surgically, illustrating how Gandhi wove fragmented bits into a cohesive force, to confront he British empire. Most boldly the movie unfolds how British colonialism subjugated the Indian people to barbaric cruelty. With great mastery the cinematography captures the vast Indian landscapes and essence of livelihood of Indians under colonial rule. The movie most illustratively shows the crystallisation of anti-colonial fervour from the embryonic stage and how it fermented into an integrated movement. In a most subtle manner it illustr

Implementing misleading govt order to pollute Hyderabad's 100 year old reservoirs

Senior activists* represent to the Telangana Governor on GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by the Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD), Government of Telangana: ‘...restrictions imposed under para 3 of said GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996 are removed...’: *** Ref: GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996: ‘To prohibit polluting industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution in the catchment of the lakes upto 10kms from full tank level as per list in Annexure-I...’ We come to your office with grievance that GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by Government of Telangana not only contains false information issued ‘By Order and in the name of the Governor of Telangana’ , without any scientific or expert reports, but also that implementation of the said GO is detrimental and can be catastrophic to the Hyderabad city as two 100 year old reservoirs Osman Sagar and Himayath Sagar were constructed as dams on river Moosa and river Esa, with the first and

Bangladesh's ties with Myanmar, Nepal, China need connectivity with India's NE states

By Samara Ashrat*  On 26th November, India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India is trying to improve trade and connectivity with Bangladesh and Myanmar on his two-day visit to India's Northeast region. He emphasized the importance of linking Northeastern India to the rest of the nation and reiterated Delhi is working to improve connectivity and infrastructure in the region. By taking the G20 presidency India will try to showcase the true spirit of the Northeast to the world, with its tourism benefits. But, the umbilical cord between the Indian mainland and North Eastern Region is Chicken's Neck or Siliguri corridor which brings Bangladesh into the Indian equation of northeastern development. Not only that, Bangladesh has very close relations with West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura in terms of language, culture, and history. These factors make Bangladesh an inextricable element of the development of the northeastern states. Tourism Sector and Con

25 years of CHT peace accord: A glorious chapter of conflict resolution in Bangladesh

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder*  Conflicts between the Bangladesh army and Shanti Bahini persisted in the Chittagong Hill Tracts for more than two decades. On December 2, 1997, Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) and the Bangladeshi government signed the CHT Accord, putting an end to the violent armed conflict and improving the life of a lot of the people there. It has been made possible through just seven meetings under the worthy leadership of Sheikh Hasina. The historic peace agreement created an atmosphere of peace in the mountainous region. An atmosphere of peace has been established by ending the armed conflict. The geographical features and ethnic diversity of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) are distinctive. The 13,184 square kilometer territory is bordered by Myanmar and the Indian state of Mizoram on the East and Tripura on the North. With its 1.6 million people, it entails great importance to Bangladesh for its geopolitical location. Due to the conflict-prone Northeast Indi

Film on evidence of viability of in situ communitarian urban water management

By Rahul Banerjee  Over the past few years it has become increasingly clear that centralised urban water management in India is in deep crisis. Water supply is both inadequate and extremely costly, water harvesting and recharging and used water treatment and reuse are mostly absent and storm water management is a disaster. Under the circumstances, the only viable solution is communitarian in situ water management and this is what has been proposed in the latest guidelines of both the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation and the Swacch Bharat Mission. Our NGO, Mahila Jagat Lihaaz Samiti , has not only implemented communitarian in situ water management but has also carried out research to provide evidence of the unviability of centralised water management and the suitability of the former. Here is a film based on a detailed research that I did on urban water management in Chhattisgarh for the National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi, that succinctly critiques cen