What Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Minister Gets Wrong About Women, Peace and Security

My article for Foreign Policy Rising about the direction of the UN Women, Peace and Security agenda.

Foreign Policy Rising

37917057396_61fcb3aba1_kUN Women/Flickr

Ever since Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström launched the first explicitly feminist foreign policy agenda in 2014, she has become a figurehead for feminist foreign policy. But at the United Nations last month, Wallström made a surprising comment about its peace and security work and its approach towards gender and conflict. “All of this is not a women’s issue,” she said. “It is a peace and security issue.”

Focusing on peace and security rather than women contradicts the goals of Sweden’s feminist foreign policy to promote peace and gender equality. It even contradicts other parts of Wallström’s speech, including her assertions that “women often bear a disproportionate burden” of conflict and that the Security Council has a critical role to play in ensuring “that women’s voices are heard.”

By making this distinction between “women’s issues” and security issues, Wallström effectively dismisses “women’s issues,” pushing gender inequality…

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