Gendering South Africa's Foreign Policy: Toward a Feminist Approach?


Haastrup T (2020) Gendering South Africa's Foreign Policy: Toward a Feminist Approach?. Foreign Policy Analysis, 16 (2), pp. 199-216.

South Africa has sought ethical foreign policy since the advent of democracy. This foreign policy outlook focuses on the African continent and the ways in which pro- gender justice norms are articulated. In this article, I reflect on the extent to which South Africa’s foreign policy embraces these norms as part of its foreign apparatus and practices. It takes at its starting point the nascent literature on feminist foreign policy applied to South Africa, which shares similarities to countries in the Global North that embrace feminist foreign policy. Moreover, it takes account of gender dynamics at the domestic level and how they are manifested in foreign policy discourses and practices, particularly in the understanding and implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Utilising qualitative content analysis, this article provides context and meaning for how gender concerns have evolved in South Africa’s foreign policy, including the role of certain norm entrepreneurs in shaping the gender narrative. The article concludes that the domestic context is important to shaping and limiting how a country can enact feminist foreign policy. Importantly, the South African case provides an additional Global South dimension to the nascent scholarship.​

gender; feminist foreign policy; WPS agenda; South Africa

Foreign Policy Analysis: Volume 16, Issue 2

Publication date30/04/2020
Publication date online06/03/2020
Date accepted by journal23/08/2019