International relations

Feminist approach

Feminist approach to international engagement

In the 2021-2022 Programme for Government, we reiterated our commitment to ensuring our policies and actions abroad are consistent with our focus on fairness and inclusion at home. This included a commitment to our international work reflecting a feminist approach to policymaking. 

Several states have adopted a feminist foreign policy in recent years. While there is not one uniform definition, feminist foreign policies aim broadly to protect the rights of women and marginalised groups, prioritise peace and interrogate existing power structures. 

While foreign policy remains the responsibility of the UK government, we have a proud record of engaging internationally in Scotland’s interests within current constitutional arrangements. There is a clear role for us to make a constructive contribution to addressing global challenges. International affairs also impact on achieving domestic objectives. Through our international work, we seek to reduce gender and other inequalities at home and overseas. 

Expert interviews on a feminist approach to foreign policy

As part of developing a feminist approach to our international engagement, we are committed to learning from and listening to others. We have published a report summarising key findings from an initial phase of stakeholder engagement.

Our approach 

Based on these conversations, we developed a background note setting the scene ahead of the next phase of engagement to define and shape a feminist approach to foreign policy. It provides a short overview of existing feminist foreign policy and definitions, and outlines our rationale, high-level aims and next steps. Following a programme of engagement with experts through experience, academics, community and third sector organisations, among others, including contributors from the Global South, an independent evidence report was published which includes a number of recommendations for the Scottish Government. Work is underway to consider and assess the recommendations.


Email: Laura MacLaughlin, Senior Policy Adviser,  

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