Feminist diplomacy – Submission of the assessment report on the international strategy for gender equality (3 July 2023)


The High Council for Gender Equality (HCE) submitted its final assessment report on France’s international strategy for gender equality (2018-2022) today, Monday 3 July, to Mme Catherine Colonna, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Mme Isabelle Rome, Minister Delegate for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities, attached to the Prime Minister. Mme Colonna recalled that France is one of the few countries in the world to have established a feminist foreign policy, in 2019. It takes the form both of diplomatic actions to defend and promote women’s and girls’ rights and of a proactive policy to further equality between women and men within the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.

France is taking action on the ground, directly and through the Global Fund for Survivors of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, created by Ms Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege. In international forums, France places gender equality at the heart of the international agenda. It did so during its G7 presidency in 2019 (Biarritz summit). In Paris in 2021 it hosted the Generation Equality Forum, which it co-chaired with Mexico and UN Women and which led to practical commitments by the States and organizations taking part. France actively promotes the universal adoption of the Istanbul Convention, an effort that contributed to the recent ratification of the Convention by three more States and the European Union. We have also been at the vanguard of international efforts to defend women’s rights wherever they are challenged, particularly in Iran and Afghanistan.

Since 2018, France has also greatly increased its financial contributions in support of women’s and girls’ rights. For example, France doubled its contribution to UN Women and made a commitment to the tune of €400 million over five years for access to sexual and reproductive rights and to sexual and reproductive health. France’s contribution to the Support Fund for Feminist Organizations (FSOF), an emblematic commitment of France’s feminist diplomacy, amounted to €134 million over three years (2020-2022) and is continuing in 2023. In the framework of its presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2022, France launched negotiations on the directive on combating violence against women and domestic violence, and worked with the other European institutions to promote an increased representation of women on the boards of listed European companies and on the pay transparency directive.

In 2023 the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs received the AFNOR label “Equality of professional women and men”, recognizing the Ministry’s involvement in a long-term initiative. The number of female ambassadors and consuls general has doubled in less than 10 years, with nearly 30% of ambassadors being women in 2023. The ministerial executive committee, the highest management body in the Quai d’Orsay, has a female majority for the first time. This year Mme Colonna also launched the Tremplin (“Springboard”) programme, which promotes and supports future women leaders in our diplomatic service. The Ministry draws on a network of 236 equality advisers and offers support and training on gender issues to staff.

This record is the result of our investment in equality, a cardinal value of France and its diplomacy.