Joint call from Dorcas with 25 organisations: broaden the Dutch feminist foreign policy

Soon the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs will present its “Feminist Foreign Policy”. Following in the footsteps of countries such as Spain, Sweden and Canada, the Netherlands will commit itself to fostering global equality. This will be done through the adoption and implementation of a feminist foreign policy. What this policy will entail in concrete terms is not yet known, but it seems that two target groups in particular will receive extra attention in Dutch foreign policy: (young) women and LGBTIQ+ people. The feminist foreign policy aims to serve the goal that “If more people get equal opportunities, that contributes to a safe, stable and prosperous world” (quote from the website of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

At Dorcas, we think it is a good development that the Netherlands is willing to target people that need extra support. For example, we know that women can be more vulnerable to poverty and exclusion for various reasons. It is important to take this into account in Dutch foreign policies, so that women worldwide receive the support they need. This also applies to LGBTIQ+ people. We therefore understand the desire to focus on equal rights for women and LGBTIQ+ people. However, Dorcas and 25 humanitarian assistance and development organisations fear that other groups of people, such as older persons, people with disabilities and ethnic minorities will automatically receive less attention. Dorcas cannot agree to favouring one person over another. This would undermine the goal of a “safe, stable and prosperous world”.  

Dorcas stands for inclusive policies and practices in which everyone can participate regardless of ethnicity, gender, religious background and other personal characteristics. That is why Dorcas in collaboration with 25 organisations has written a letter to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this letter we jointly request attention for an inclusive foreign policy that takes into account all personal characteristics that could lead to exclusion. As far as Dorcas is concerned, this goes beyond gender and sexual preference alone.

The letter includes suggestions on how the Dutch feminist foreign policy can broaden its scope beyond gender and sexual orientation. Often the overlap between different personality traits creates extra vulnerability. For example, women with a disability are more vulnerable than men with a disability. By recognising this overlap and looking beyond gender and sexual orientation alone, the 26 organisations hope that the Netherlands can make a difference worldwide for everyone in need!

What is a Feminist Foreign Policy?

The Netherlands wants to reduce inequality and strives for equality between men and women and LGBTIQ+ people all over the world. That is why the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working on feminist foreign policy.

With the choice for a feminist foreign policy, equal rights and equality for women and LGBTIQ+ people will be central to all aspects of Dutch foreign policy. With this, the Netherlands joins a group of frontrunners from countries that are committed to gender equality internationally, such as Germany, Spain, France, Luxembourg, Canada, Mexico and Chile.

20 February 2023

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