Contesting feminist power Europe: is Feminist Foreign Policy possible for the EU?

Roberta Guerrina, Toni Haastrup, Katharine A.M. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since 2014, several European Union (EU) member states have adopted their own versions of “Feminist Foreign Policy” (FFP). Increasingly, feminist bureaucrats, politicians, activists and scholars are calling for the EU to do the same. This article scrutinises claims to the feminist actorsness of the EU by introducing the analytical concept of Feminist Power Europe (FPE). In employing FPE the article examines whether the EU can adopt a FFP that upholds transformative potential of feminism. Undertaking critical content analysis of key documents, we identify three overarching feminist frames that emerge in the EU’s external policies: (1) Liberal; (2) Intersectional; (3) Postcolonial. We demonstrate that the EU’s propensity for a transformative feminist foreign policy is limited by the setup of global politics and the main drivers of European integration, which continue to be situated in a traditionally masculine environment and are defined by prevailing hierarchies. In undertaking this work, we highlight the constraints of advocating for the EU to adopt a FFP. This paper concludes by cautioning against the uncritical deployment of “feminism” in foreign policy articulation within an FPE configuration that excludes reflexivity about the EU’s external relations vision and indeed, its practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-507
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Security
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2023


  • Feminist Foreign Policy
  • gender
  • peace and security
  • women


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