Gender equality is a priority for the French government. The French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) spearheads this commitment through its feminist foreign policy.
France is advocating gender equality in international forums and wants this goal to be taken into account in all issues from inequality reduction to sustainable development, peace and security, defence and promotion of fundamental rights, and climate and economic issues.
At national level, France has also committed to ensuring that 50% of its official development assistance is attributed – through the Agence Française de Développement – to projects with gender equality as a significant or main objective.
The MEAE must set an example for feminist foreign policy.
The Ministry has a pro-active policy to promote gender equality internally.
The key focuses of France’s feminist foreign policy are set out in France’s international strategy for gender equality (2018-2022) .
"France wishes to support the emancipation of women around the world by fighting sexual violence and fighting for equality in the workplace and girls’ education… Furthering this feminist foreign policy worldwide means fighting for equality between men and women everywhere."
Joint article by Jean-Yves Le Drian and Marlène Schiappa / 8 March 2019
Still today, women and girls are often more affected by poverty, conflict and climate change than men.
They face difficulties and discriminations, in every field and every country.
France considers women, as well as men, to be actors for sustainable development and the correct functioning of societies or – for post-crisis countries – for reconstruction.
Their representation in all decision-making forums must be promoted.
Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 5 on gender equality and empowerment of women, and respecting the fundamental rights of women as set out in the International Convention of 1979 on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women are a priority for France.
In light of global developments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Generation Equality Forum, due to be held from 7 to 10 July 2020, has been postponed until the first half of 2021.
Preventing all forms of violence against women is a priority for France.
Since 2017, the Paris Pledge, presented at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs on International Women’s Day, called for the international community to remobilize.
In conflict situations, women and girls are often the primary victims. France actively contributed to the adoption and the implementation of the Security Council resolutions on Women, Peace and Security, which call for States to strengthen the protection of women and girls during conflicts and increase the participation of women in peace negotiations and decision-making processes.
Lastly, France is committed to promoting the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, known as the Istanbul Convention, which aims to get each State to recognize its responsibility in fighting these forms of violence.
"Genuine equality will be impossible as long as societies continue to tolerate or exercise control over women’s bodies, through coercion or violence, whether it be physical or emotional."
The International Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence builds on the work of Dr Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad.
The goal is to enable survivors of conflict-related sexual violence to have access to compensation and reparations and to help them to reintegrate society.
Dr Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad lead the initiative in close collaboration and consultation with other public-sector, private-sector and civil society stakeholders.
France has announced that it will be contributing €6.2 million to this Fund between 2020 and 2022.
Setting an example in its internal practices is a key part of rolling out the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’ feminist foreign policy. To foster occupational equality between men and women and gender parity, the Ministry has taken several commitments:
- increasing the number of women in management and ambassador positions.
26% of France’s ambassadors are women (compared to 11% in 2012). 25% of directors and heads of department are women (compared to 22% in 2012).
- preventing all forms of bullying and workplace violence including the creation of a listening service.
- implementing means enabling a better work/life balance.
- paying close attention to ensure communications do not include gender stereotypes and promote equality-related issues.
Lastly, the Ministry requires the 12 agencies with which it oversees solely or jointly to include gender issues in their strategies and actions.