Gender norms, global hierarchies and the evolution of feminist foreign policy

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Gender equality has long been adopted by states to indicate liberal values and respect for international norms. Feminist thought argues that the gendered hierarchies created by these norms underpin and sustain international relations. This article contributes to this literature on gendered norms and hierarchies through the case study of feminist foreign policy. It addresses four case-study countries who adopt feminist foreign policy – Sweden, Canada, France and Mexico – arguing that the developing norm of feminist foreign policy acts to signify liberal modernity and adherence to the international liberal order when deployed by states. It further argues that this deployment of feminist foreign policy contributes to existing gendered global hierarchies and these states’ positions on the world stage. As such, it contributes to the developing literature on feminist foreign policy and to wider work on norms and hierarchies around gender in global politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-190
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Politics and Gender
Issue number2
Early online date24 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2022


  • feminist foreign policy
  • feminist international relations
  • foreign policy
  • gender
  • hierarchies
  • norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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