Feminist Foreign Policy and the South Caucasus

Since the 1980s, feminist international relations scholars and activists have advocated for a more inclusive, reflexive, and peace-oriented foreign policy. One of their major successes was the adoption in 2000 and later expansion of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda. Since 2014, when Sweden became the first country to declare a feminist foreign policy (FFP), discussions in academic, civil society, and governmental circles have advanced significantly. Nevertheless, diverse and sometimes conflicting understandings of the concept of feminist foreign policy remain, just like doubts about its practical implementation. What difference does FFP make in reality? How feasible is FFP in a world still and again marked by authoritarian aggression and violence? What can be done beyond "adding women"?

This dossier looks at the possibility of feminist foreign policy in the context of the South Caucasus, a region coined by armed conflict, destabilizing external interference and military threat, and all but feminist governments. The dossier is based on an online workshop conducted by the Heinrich Boell Foundation in October 2022 with decision-makers, civil society representatives, and academics from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Germany, and Turkey. What chances are there to apply feminist principles in the Georgian-Abkhaz or Armenian-Azerbaijani conflicts? Is feminist foreign policy a beneficial frame to advocate for Armenian-Turkish normalization? How can the German Government's plans to pursue feminist foreign and development cooperation policies be implemented in the South Caucasus? Together with our authors, we hope to provide initial food for thought to these and other questions. We'll be adding articles to the dossier on an ongoing basis.