Minister Fajon presents feminist foreign policy as a modern, future-oriented policy
On International Women’s Day, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs, Tanja Fajon, set out the concept of a feminist foreign policy, which is a cross-cutting theme of the new foreign policy strategy, and announced that the Ministry intends to increase its focus on gender equality and respect for the rights and the empowerment of women and girls around the world. The Feminist Foreign Policy Strategy will be launched on the International Day of Women in Diplomacy, on 24 June.
“International Women’s Day is a celebration for all, but only by working together can women and men succeed in the fight for gender equality. Slovenia stands slightly below the EU average in the Gender Equality Index and is progressing more slowly than other countries. We should not be deceived by the fact that women now hold some of the highest positions in the country; feminism is not over. Quite the opposite. In recent years, due to circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and rising prices, Slovenia has also witnessed a deterioration in the situation of women and an erosion of the rights they already enjoyed. That is why we must raise our voices, not only today, on International Women’s Day, but every day, for all those women and girls – at home and around the world – who do not have this privilege, who are discriminated against, who are scorned, who are invisible", urged Minister Fajon on 8 March.
"As Slovenia’s first female foreign minister and deputy prime minister, who has made gender equality a priority, I have decided to join the initiative of a group of progressive countries that have formally incorporated feminism into their foreign policy strategy”. According to the Minister, this is nothing new. Slovenia has always been committed to equal opportunities, gender equality and human rights. However, feminist foreign policy will now be officially enshrined as a modern, future-oriented policy promoting gender equality at home and abroad.
In the organisational structure of the Ministry, feminist foreign policy is already reflected in the gender balance of the heads of directorates; the work of diplomats is supervised by a female diplomatic supervisor and the secretariat is headed by a female secretary-general. Furthermore, Slovenia ranks high among EU member states in terms of the number of female ambassadors. The Minister added that "if we want more of the excellent female diplomats we have at the Ministry to become ambassadors, we need to do even more to help balance work and family life”.
Feminism is also a cross-cutting theme in the new foreign policy strategy being developed by the Ministry. In this way, Slovenia will further strengthen its bilateral and multilateral relations to promote respect for the rights of women and girls and their economic, political and social empowerment, including through development and humanitarian aid.
"When I talk about a feminist foreign policy, I also think about girls and women around the world who cannot use public toilets for fear of being sexually harassed; I “see” girls in Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, Ukraine and too many war-torn countries who cannot go to school; who are forced to marry; I “see” women who suffer horrific sexual violence, rape used as a weapon of war. Addressing these real problems of women all around the world is a feminist foreign policy", said Minister Tanja Fajon, announcing that a greater share of development and humanitarian funds would be allocated to this area.
The Feminist Foreign Policy Strategy that is being drafted will also reflect the aspirations and expectations of civil society. To this end, the Ministry will organise a series of thematic roundtables and public discussions with relevant stakeholders. The final Feminist Foreign Policy Strategy is expected to be presented to the wider public on 24 June, on the occasion of the International Day of Women in Diplomacy.
According to analysis conducted by the World Economic Forum, it would take at least another 130 years to close the gender gap. "We must all strive for equality and justice. Together. Global social justice IS achievable. But for these efforts to succeed, it is vital to create a different culture of dialogue and cooperation, a different way of leading and building partnerships – between men and women, between civil society and politics, between countries around the world", Minister Fajon said.
On International Women’s Day, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon hosted a reception for all employees of the Ministry. She will also speak at the International Women’s Day reception hosted by the President of the Republic of Slovenia at Brdo pri Kranju, and will conclude this 8 March by speaking at the roundtable “Successful Women and Their Perception in the Media” at 6 pm in Cankarjev dom.