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Contesting feminist power Europe: is Feminist Foreign Policy possible for the EU?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Katharine A. M. WrightORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.Since 2014, several European Union (EU) member states have adopted their own versions of “Feminist Foreign Policy” (FFP). Increasingly, feminist bureaucrats, politicians, activists and scholars are calling for the EU to do the same. This article scrutinises claims to the feminist actorsness of the EU by introducing the analytical concept of Feminist Power Europe (FPE). In employing FPE the article examines whether the EU can adopt a FFP that upholds transformative potential of feminism. Undertaking critical content analysis of key documents, we identify three overarching feminist frames that emerge in the EU’s external policies: (1) Liberal; (2) Intersectional; (3) Postcolonial. We demonstrate that the EU’s propensity for a transformative feminist foreign policy is limited by the setup of global politics and the main drivers of European integration, which continue to be situated in a traditionally masculine environment and are defined by prevailing hierarchies. In undertaking this work, we highlight the constraints of advocating for the EU to adopt a FFP. This paper concludes by cautioning against the uncritical deployment of “feminism” in foreign policy articulation within an FPE configuration that excludes reflexivity about the EU’s external relations vision and indeed, its practice.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Guerrina R, Haastrup T, Wright KAM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Security

Year: 2023

Volume: 32

Issue: 3

Pages: 485-507

Online publication date: 24/04/2023

Acceptance date: 02/06/2023

Date deposited: 20/09/2023

ISSN (print): 0966-2839

ISSN (electronic): 1746-1545

Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd.


DOI: 10.1080/09662839.2023.2233080


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