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Why does the Feminist Foreign Policy need to be introduced in India?

“The connection between Women’s Humans Rights, Gender Equality, Socio-economic Development and Peace is increasingly apparent.”- Mahnaz Afkhami

The present global order is undergoing massive transformations with respect to power dynamics, as well as significant adjustments in global alliances and agendas. A few years ago, the concept of "Feminist Foreign Policy" began to take hold in Sweden and Canada, and since then, has impacted both governments' foreign policy and development cooperation agendas. A Feminist Foreign Policy(FFP) is a multifaceted political paradigm that seeks to elevate the experiences and agency of women and marginalised groups in order to examine the harmful forces of patriarchy, colonialism, imperialism, heteronormativity, capitalism, racism, and militarism. In 2014, Sweden was the first country to declare its FFP Framework. Other countries have followed suit, including Ireland, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and the only country from Asia, Japan. Across Asia, there is a growing consensus that more women should hold positions of authority in foreign affairs and diplomacy. The deployment of a gender lens to "soft" issues such as health, human rights, gender-based abuse, or migration, as opposed to "hard" ones such as trade, security, and conflict, has to be reviewed with a balanced gender viewpoint.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives and communities in unexpected ways, resulting in a global economic catastrophe. Women in Asia, who predominantly work as labour in the informal economy, have fared worse than males. In Cambodia, for example, 77% of garment workers are women, who have suffered unemployment and growing poverty as factories have closed. The cost in terms of lives lost, jobs and livelihoods destroyed, growing poverty, and increased economic imbalance between men and women will have long-term consequences for economic recovery and growth. As governments discuss gradually reforming Asian economies, gender equity must be recognised as a vital cornerstone for a global economic recovery.

Academic experts have identified four fundamental commitments for governments to consider when gendering foreign policy:

1. Clearly practising gender mainstreaming as a policy agenda at all levels of foreign policymaking.

2. Ensuring that development assistance targets gender inequality and transforms gender relations.

3. Focusing on women's security and human rights.

4. Introducing institutional or legislative mechanisms to promote women's supervision within the foreign policy portfolio.

More women in foreign policy activities, particularly in "hard power" sectors like security and military problems, can have a significant influence. Across Asia, there is optimism for improvement, as governments have invested in opening up possibilities to women that were previously thought to be "man exclusive." Women in the military forces, for example, can now serve in frontline combat units in Bangladesh and India. We need to make sure that our modest success in gender equity is reflected in our foreign policy.

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