On 8 March 2019, President Emmanuel Macron announced the creation of the Support Fund for Feminist Organizations (FSOF). It has become an essential tool of France’s feminist diplomacy to support feminist movements.
Three years after its launch in 2020, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, announced that the Support Fund for Feminist Organizations would be continued. Over five years, this Fund will provide €250 million for feminist civil society organizations.
France, which adopted a feminist diplomacy in 2019, knows that feminist organizations play a major role in fighting for gender equality and the rights of women and girls all over the world. This Fund aims to finance their actions.
It was launched on 15 July 2020, and had an initial budget of €120 million. It ultimately raised €134 million to finance civil society feminist organizations in partner countries of France’s international solidarity and development policy.
Three years after its launch in 2020, the FSOF is France’s main lever of official development assistance for gender equality.
Half of our development assistance, which has posted a record increase, must now contribute to reducing gender inequalities. I would like to announce here today that a €120 million fund will be created to help movements furthering women’s rights and status. That is the decision that French diplomacy is promoting. This fund is a concrete example of what we are doing globally to further this major cause of my term.
The FSOF is aimed at civil society feminist organizations in all their diversity, whether they are officially established or not, and which aim to foster gender equality and durably transform gender-based social relationships, particularly those organizations whose main aim is to defend and promote the effective rights and empowerment of women and girls.
It is deployed in such a way as to contribute to three objectives of change, jointly determined with civil society, following an innovative, feminist method of drawing up public policy:
Feminist organizations, which have typically struggled to obtain financing, are supported and strengthened over the long term by the FSOF in their activities and technical, administrative and financial capacities thanks to an inclusive and agile approach that is tailored to their needs. The FSOF supports a wide array of civil society feminist organizations, with a particular focus on young feminist movements, by recognizing their role as drivers of social, economic and political transformations.
2. Build together
The implementation of the FSOF is based on a dialogue of trust and inclusive governance, ensuring the full participation of civil society organizations, including those from partner countries of France’s international solidarity and development policy.
The actions of the FSOF and the sharing of the lessons learned from these actions increases the knowledge of feminist approaches among institutions and facilitates ownership at the operational and strategic levels (financial channels, tools and practices).
The financial and technical support provided under the FSOF to organizations is therefore seen as an essential tool of France’s ability to conduct an ambitious feminist diplomacy.
The FSOF fosters networking, cooperation, discussions, connections and synergies at the local, regional, national and multinational levels among feminist civil society and women’s rights organizations. This dialogue helps expand the scope of feminist struggles.
The FSOF made France the leading country providing funding for feminist organizations in Southern countries in 2021, with almost 1,000 associations supported in 73 countries.
In September 2022, the renewal of the Support Fund for Feminist Organizations was announced by the Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, and this was confirmed by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2023.
In September 2023, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, France announced the terms of renewal of the FSOF, and the mobilization of a budget of €250 million over five years for the FSOF (2023-2027).
Since 2020, we have a Support Fund for Feminist Organizations: it has raised €134 million, and supported 1000 associations in more than 70 countries. I decided to strengthen this fund and modernize it. We will keep this promise, not just because it is the United Nations General Assembly and because we are here together, but because I have decided to allocate further resources with €250 million over the next five years. It is a significant effort, and it must be followed by others, but I think we are doing our part.
Catherine Colonna, 21 September 2023, at an event organized on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly and bringing together the Foreign Ministers of countries that have adopted a feminist diplomacy
The actions of the Support Fund for Feminist Organizations are mainly aimed at seven topics:
- Sexual and reproductive health and rights and comprehensive sexuality education;
- The fight against gender-based discrimination and violence, including the fight against dangerous practices such as genital mutilation, child marriages and forced marriages;
- The empowerment of women and their participation in economic life;
- The social and political leadership of women;
- Access for girls to primary, secondary and higher education;
- The Women, Peace and Security Agenda and the role of women in crises;
- Gender and the climate.
To reach all types of feminist organizations, including those with the weakest structures, three modes of action are used by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD):
- Thematic funds that redistribute financing;
- Initiatives designed in partnership by French feminist organizations and based in partner countries;
- Projects developed by French Embassies abroad in support of local feminist organizations, particularly through the Solidarity Fund for Innovative Projects (FSPI) and the Innovative Projects by Civil Society and Coalitions of Actors (PISCCA) Fund.
Updated: October 2023