22. Februar 2024

Veranstaltungsbericht | Mexico’s Feminist Foreign Policy and its significance for the feminist movement

8. November 2023

On the 8th of November our event series „Feminist Foreign Policy(s): An On-Going Journey through Global Policies“ organised by the program Gender and International Politics continued. Following our Event on Swedens Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP) we continued with a talk on the FFP in Mexico under the topic “Mexico’s Feminist Foreign Policy and its significance for the feminist movement”. With the two Speakers, Daniela Phillipson and Patricia von Wartenberg Salgado, we discussed how Mexico has applied its FFP and how it can be evaluated more than 3 years after its introduction. Moreover we talked about how the FFP has influenced national politics and the domestic developments in the country. We also examined the reactions and opinions of the big feminist movement in the country on the foreign policy changes.

The event started with an overall evaluation of the FFP in Mexico. Both speakers pointed out that Mexico is the first country in the global south that implemented a FFP and included a gender perspective into international policy. Daniela Philipson went on to say that the implementation is still not perfect. She described the implementation as an well intended effort but not an revolutionary change because the politics excluded the Mexican society during the whole process. Patricia von Wartenberg Salgado emphasized that although Mexican FFP was officially adopted in 2020, Mexico has been applying a gender perspective in multilateral fora and its consular work for many years. She emphasized however that the adoption of a FFP was an important signal of the commitment towards promoting government actions to reduce and eliminate structural inequality.

The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) ranks Mexico’s FFP as one of the world’s best FFPs. Von Wartenberg Salgado emphasized that the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs is very proud of this placement and is working on an everyday basis to achieve all of its goals. Daniela Philipson criticized the ranking of the ICRW. She gave four reasons:

1. The quantitative method of the study isn’t useful. Ranking countries is not a feminist approach.
2. She described the comparison of OECD countries as comparing apples and oranges. Highly developed countries got compared to Mexico. The nuances in the different politics were not considered enough.
3. The Index only considered the multilateral level. The calculation did not include the fact that Mexico did not involve civil society in the design and implementation of its FFP. Feminist activists from the country were never consulted. Most of them don’t even know about the FFP. There is a big difference between what the president says and what really happens.
4. The introduction of the index says that only some components were assessed in the index. Ultimately, it’s a comparison of how different countries work in the compartment of gender. Still, the Mexican government acts like they got the placement for having the best FFP overall.

Nevertheless, Daniela said that the current FFP is better than no FFP. In the future, more pressure must be exerted on the government and feminist activists from the country must be involved. 

The question of whether the FFP had an inward effect on domestic feminist developments was also raised. Daniela Phillipson sees potential at domestic level, but this has not yet been used to its fullest. She mentioned the example of Mexico being the country with the highest number of murdered environmental defenders. Von Wartenberg Salgado mentioned that Mexico aims for coherence between its domestic and international efforts and pointed out positive examples for the feminist changes on a domestic level. She explained that in the framework of Mexico’s first National Action Plan for the Implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security-1325 was implemented. She mentioned also the advancements on LGBTQ+ rights, the legalization of same sex marriages in all the federative states of Mexico, the option to change the gender identity in birth certificates, and the addition of gender X for non-binary persons in Mexican passports.

After the discussion, the audience took the chance to ask follow-up questions. The first question focused on future trends and asked what needs to be taken into account for Mexico’s FFP continuous development. Von Wartenberg Salgado emphasized how important it is to talk about the climate crisis and that Mexico is an active promoter of including a gender equality perspective in the COP negotations. Philipson added the topic of gender and peace. She said that this topic is very relevant for Mexico and the FFP and that it needs to be more talked about the militarised violence that happens every day in the country.

The second question from the audience was related to the country’s development policy and its feminist orientation. Philipson mentioned that development policy does not play such a big role in Mexico as it does in Germany because the country was never a colonial power. Mexico needs to implement the concept for its own situation. A feminist development policy is not a key component of the Mexican FFP. Von Wartenberg Salgado said that while Mexico has not officially adopted a Feminist Development Policy, the Mexican Agency for International Development Cooperation (AMEXCID) includes a gender perspective in its projects.

The last question touched on the high numbers of femicides in Mexico and the killing of queer people and environmental activists. Von Wartenberg Salgado called this a challenge on the domestic level that is being addressed by the government. On the other hand, she mentioned that gender based violence is unfortunately a global challenge and that the Mexican embassy carries out workshops to empower Mexican women that live in Germany and has also created an important network with local organizations that assist people affected by violence and other challenges.

Event report written by Fabia van Melis. She has been a member of Polis for about 1.5 years. She is studying social sciences in Berlin with a special interest in foreign and security policy.

Event organization by Fabia van Melis, Linda Müller & Marcel Bodewig.


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