Dismantling diplomacy with ‘feminist foreign policy’
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) wants to counter German security issues abroad with feminist politics. Gender training, LGBTQ events and quotas are now part of their new guidelines, which are intended to bring about "cultural change". The German ambassador to Hungary, Julia Gross, provided an embarrassing example.
Published: February 25, 2023, 7:08 am
The Foreign Minister recently underlined her commitment to a “feminist foreign policy” with new guidelines for the work of her agency. With this approach, “historically grown power structures” must be broken up, according to the paper which was made available to German weekly Spiegel. It is scheduled to be presented on March 1, this year.
“Feminist foreign policy” is not only aimed at women, but all members of a society. It includes everyone “who is pushed to the fringes of society because of gender identity, origin, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation or other reasons”. The document goes on to say that this attitude should be the common thread running through all of German foreign policy in the future.
To ensure this, Baerbock wants to hire an “ambassador for feminist foreign policy”. He or she will “ensure the mainstreaming of feminist foreign policy.” In Sweden there is already an “ambassador for gender equality”.
Baerbock wants to train the ‘feminist reflex’
In the future, there will also be contacts for these issues in foreign missions of the German Foreign Office. To this end, the Greens politician plans not only to strengthen the “gender competence” of her diplomatic staff, but also to make it a recruitment criterion. “Feminist foreign policy” is also to become mandatory training for employees in order to develop a “feminist reflex”.
Managers must also undergo “anti-bias training” in which they are informed about prejudice and privilege. The goal is a “culture change”. A “Best Feminist Practice Prize” is intended to create additional incentives for a commitment to “feminist foreign policy”.
More money for ‘queer events’
The German Foreign Office acknowledged that it had some catching up to do when it came to the proportion of female employees. Only 27 percent of diplomatic missions abroad are still headed by women. Things don’t look any better in the management team at headquarters.
Baerbock’s ministry also wants to make the participation of women a criterion for participation in events in the future. If, for example, discussion groups or guest lists are not equally represented, the “wrong” official representatives should stay away from the event.
The missions abroad should also receive more money for “queer events”, i.e. those that draw attention to the concerns of sexual and gender minorities. In 2024, the Green politician plans to hold a major conference on the subject.
Feminism does not mean pacifism
With regard to the war in Ukraine, the paper clearly stated that “feminist foreign policy was not synonymous with pacifism”. The lives of the people in the country should be protected by military means. However, the guideline for Baerbock’s policy does not contain any magic formula that can be used to deal with immediate security policy threats.
According to the Foreign Minister, feminist ideas should find their way into all areas of politics in the future. In the document, their authorities also demanded a “feminist foreign energy policy” and a “feminist foreign trade policy”.
Dismantling German competency
Baerbock has indeed left no stone unturned to dismantle the competence of German diplomatic staff wherever she can. In the summer of last year, she also ordered the requirements for the diplomatic service to be significantly lowered after female candidates in particular had repeatedly failed in the past.
In the meantime, Baerbock’s own lack of competence is already having a severe impact on the diplomatic corps. The German ambassador to Hungary, Julia Gross, provided an embarrassing example. She confused her host country with the Netherlands.
A meeting with the Hungarian Minister for Regional Development, Tibor Navracsics, has been scheduled for the coming days. “Cooperation in culture and education is a cornerstone of German-Dutch relations,” tweeted the German diplomat on this occasion. She decorated the tweet with an emoji in the colors of the Dutch flag.
But it got even better: Apparently asked about her mistake, the ambassador apologized that she had tweeted “in the dark”, corrected herself – and now tweeted the flag of Tajikistan. Only with a third tweet did Ms. Gross end her embarrassing message: “Third time’s a charm,” she tweeted – using the correct colors of Hungary.
This is not necessarily a recommendation for the “feminist foreign policy” announced by her department head.
— Julia Gross (@GERinHUN) February 21, 2023
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