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How can Canada put women’s rights at the heart of its foreign policy?

The Canadian government is seeking public input on its “feminist foreign policy,” by which it aims to apply a feminist approach “across all of its international policies and programming,” in advance of a white paper about the policy that it will release next year.

Above Ground has joined other civil society organizations in a Feminist Foreign Policy Working Group that aims to foster discussion and input from Canadians, including activists, practitioners and scholars who are actively engaged in thinking about Canadian foreign policy from feminist perspectives.

Our working group has created a background document in which we propose core principles that must be included in a feminist foreign policy. Among these principles is that the feminist approach should be prioritized across all elements of foreign policy, including, for instance, trade, investment and economic diplomacy. From Above Ground’s perspective, it is particularly important to stress that a policy that fails to address the harmful impacts of business activities on women — such as those often seen in the extractive and garment industries, for example — isn’t feminist.

See our background document below for further reflections and questions we offer to help guide discussion, analysis and advocacy towards foreign policy that is truly feminist.

Groups and individuals can make submissions until November 30 to Global Affairs to share their views on what Canada’s  foreign policy should look like. Instructions to make a submission can be found here.