International Virtual Discussion on Feminist Foreign Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region

Organizer: IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi

About the Session

  • When: September 19 & 20, 2023
  • Time: 4 – 6 p.m. IST
  • Platform: Zoom | Live at | Spotify | Google Podcasts

Program Experts

Chair: Prof Vibhuti Patel, Visiting Distinguished Professor, IMPRI

Day 1: Feminist Foreign Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region with regards to Climate Change

Ms Farida Akhter, Executive Director, UBINIG – Policy Research for Development Alternative, and President, Narigrantha Prabartana, Bangladesh
Ms Lavanya Shanbhogue Arvind,
Assistant Professor, Centre for Disasters and Development, Jamsetji Tata School of Disaster Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai
Ms Priti Darooka
, Founder and Global Coordinator, BRICS Feminist Watch

Day 2: Feminist Foreign Policy in the Asia-Pacific for Transnational Solidarity for Peace

Ms Irene Santiago, Peace Adviser, Local Government Academy, Philippines; Chair Emerita and former CEO, Mindanao Commission on Women (MCW); Lead Convener,; Feminist & Peace Negotiator
Adv Dr Vahida Nainar,
Independent Researcher, Gender & Human Rights Consultant
Dr Athiqah Nur Alami
, Head of Research, Center for Politics, Badan Riset dan Inovasi Nasional (BRIN), Jakarta, Indonesia

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Dr Simi Mehta,
CEO & Editorial Director, IMPRI
Dr Arjun Kumar
, Director, IMPRI

Details About the Event

Feminist Foreign Policy, relegated to the margins for decades, is slowly gaining much-deserved recognition as a result of the efforts of peacemaking, peacebuilding and peacekeeping by transnational feminist solidarity. A feminist foreign policy provides a powerful lens through which we can counter the violent global systems of power, i.e., patriarchy, racism, cultural nationalism, imperialism, and militarism, that leave the majority of the population in perpetual states of vulnerability and despair. It puts promoting gender equality and women’s rights at the centre of a nation’s diplomatic agenda.

According to the International Center for Research on Women, feminist foreign policy is the policy of a state that defines its interactions with other states and movements in a manner that prioritizes gender equality and enshrines the human rights of women and other historically marginalised groups, allocates significant resources to achieve that vision and seeks through its implementation to disrupt patriarchal and male-dominated power structures across all of its levers of influence (aid, trade, defence and diplomacy), informed by the voices of feminist activists, groups and movements.

In the post colonial context, there is an urgent need to strengthen the spirit of networking and learning from each-other’s best practices and respect for diversity, plurality and inclusivity that have been the hallmark of South Asian, South East Asian, East Asian, Central Asian countries and Fiji Islands.

Feminist Foreign Policy in the Asia-Pacific Region with regards to Climate Change
Climate change in the same context is an urgent and complex global challenge that demands our immediate attention. We are now witnessing the consequences of climate change across the globe in the form of rising temperatures, extreme weather events, melting polar ice, and disrupted ecosystems. As the effects intensify, vulnerable communities face heightened risks to their livelihoods and well-being. Thus, to safeguard our environment, we need to prioritise climate action today. Addressing climate change requires collective action, embracing sustainable practices, and transitioning to renewable energy sources. FFP places gender equality as well as climate change at the heart and soul of the international agenda. It aims, inter alia, towards improving the participation rate of women in economics and politics, involving women in peace negotiations, and reducing sexual violence through diplomatic relations. Challenges faced by Asia and Pacific regions have been devastating the impact of increased frequency of Cyclones, floods, deluge and bursting of water bodies, earthquakes, landslides. Tsunami waves devastated coastal populations in several nation states.

Feminist Foreign Policy in the Asia-Pacific for Transnational Solidarity for Peace
In a world where borders may separate us, the pursuit of peace unites us all. The realm of transnational solidarity embodies a shared desire for peaceful existence where humans transcend geographical boundaries to foster a harmonious global community to promote understanding, cooperation, and conflict resolution on a global scale. Through open dialogue, cultural exchange, and mutual support, transnational solidarity for peace showcases the transformative potential of collaboration, proving that together, we can build a future where peace and compassion prevail, leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come. Human Rights organisations, movements like Fridays for Future, organisations and individuals collaborating across borders to provide humanitarian aid and refugee support in times of crisis or the UN Peacekeeping force showcase the power of transnational solidarity in promoting a more just and equitable world. Further, the report tends to focus on Feminist Foreign Policy, Peace Initiatives and Transnational Solidarity in Asia Pacific Region and how it can be aligned with its National Interests to further its Strategic Objectives. According to the International Peace Institute, when women participate in peace processes, agreements are more likely to last—and to be forged in the first place. The time is ripe for instituting a feminist foreign policy in India and all other nations. Asia and Pacific region are undergoing massive socio-cultural and economic transformation fuelled by neoliberal policies resulting in intra-country and cross border conflicts. Cocktail of cultural nationalism and market fundamentalism have unleashed hyper masculinity and patriarchal backlash against women’s dignity and rights. In this context, transnational Feminist solidarity gains great importance to safeguard women’s interests in the region.

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