On June 12, the Foreign Affairs Ministry launched one of the key guidelines for Chile’s international strategy, with implications for trade, human rights and leadership at the global level. Chile thus becomes the first South American country to implement a Feminist Foreign Policy, joining France, Canada, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, Mexico and others.
To strengthen democracy with a focus on gender equality; to commit to greater empowerment and representation for women; to deepen the women, peace and security agenda; to address issues such as trade and gender, climate change, science, technology and innovation; and to promote a comprehensive system of care. These are the main areas of the Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP) presented this June 12 by the three highest authorities at Chile’s Foreign Affairs Ministry: Minister Alberto Van Klaveren, Undersecretary Gloria de La Fuente, and International Economic Relations Undersecretary Claudia Sanhueza.
Chile thus becomes the first South American country to implement a strategy of this scale, and joins a global effort alongside France, Canada, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, Mexico and others.
“Since I took office as Foreign Affairs Minister on March 10, I said that the FFP was here to stay. And what better demonstration than being here for this launch, contributing to President Boric’s determination that state action addresses the commitment to gender equality in international relations in all its expressions, and in a transversal manner,” said Minister Van Klaveren. He added, “it is about achieving a more egalitarian world, which recognizes and promotes the rights of women and girls, and duly represents today’s societies, anchored in a human rights approach and in the promotion of the principles of equality and non-discrimination between men, women and diversities. Countries’ foreign policy actions cannot be left out of this aspiration; quite the contrary, diplomacy and international organizations play a fundamental role.”
The minister’s words were reinforced by Undersecretary Gloria de La Fuente, who stated that the aim is to build a more just, inclusive and sustainable society through the development of policies and actions that promote the autonomy and empowerment of women in different spaces.
“An imperative in terms of democracy and human rights”
“The Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP) is essential for Chile’s image. It contributes to our global positioning,” the undersecretary explains in conversation with Fundación Imagen de Chile. And she argues, “countries that keep spaces open for women in all spheres are more reliable. Their institutions generate greater legal certainty; therefore, their economies develop better, which also attracts investment.”
Undersecretary De La Fuente also states that the commitment to the FFP “is an imperative in terms of democracy, which strengthens Chile’s leadership around the world.”
She explains that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action emphasizes the responsibility of states to develop actions, regulations and policies on gender equality within the framework of human rights.
“The incorporation of the gender perspective in public policies contributes to improving the understanding of social, economic and cultural processes; helps redistribute and improve equal rights and opportunities and make progress in transparency and accountability; and promotes citizen participation and the strengthening of democracy.”
During the launch of the strategy, International Economic Relations Undersecretary Claudia Sanhueza recalled that Chile had incorporated a chapter on gender in a bilateral trade agreement with Uruguay for the first time in 2016. This was later followed by similar agreements with Canada, Argentina, Ecuador and, recently, the European Union. “Government, international organizations and the private sector have and can create the conditions to ensure a better distribution of benefits in international trade,” she stated.
Undersecretary Sanhueza goes further in conversation with Imagen de Chile: “The goal is that the benefits of economic and commercial integration are inclusive and that they reach all groups and women on equal terms. For this, promoting female participation among both female workers and businesswomen in the export sector is essential, not only for their empowerment but also for economic growth.”
The International Economic Relations Undersecretary highlights one of the greatest gains from continuing to strengthen the feminist strategy. “From the point of view of its image abroad, Chile stands out in international economic forums for including an inclusive perspective in all conversations. As a state, we commit to continue projecting this image in economic and gender terms,” she says in conversation with Imagen de Chile.
In the institutional sphere, the Foreign Affairs Ministry will create the Gender Affairs Division, which will be in charge of implementing this policy. It will also coordinate work with the agencies that answer to the ministry: the Borders and Limits Department; ProChile; the Chilean Antarctic Institute; and the International Cooperation Agency.
The launch of the FFP was held in the Carrera Room at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. It was attended by Women and Gender Equity Minister Antonia Orellana; Science, Technology, Knowledge and Innovation Minister Aisén Etcheverry; the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Vlado Mirosevic; the Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Chile, Georgiana Braga-Orillard; ambassadors to our country; and former Foreign Affairs Minister Antonia Urrejola, who worked on the strategy since the beginning of the current government term.
At the event, the Foreign Affairs Minister signed the Memorandum of Understanding Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which establishes a collaborative framework in order to identify existing gender gaps in the institution and thus advance in an action plan. Once the program is finished, it will be subject to external evaluation in order to be certified and for the undersecretary’s office to be recognized as a service that meets gender equality standards, which is fundamental to the implementation of the Feminist Foreign Policy.
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