International Women’s day : France adopts third International strategy for gender equality (2018-2022)
After the drafting in 2007 of a first strategy in this area, and then of a more operational strategy guided by indicators for the period 2013-2017, France is continuing its ambitious action to promote equality through its third International strategy for gender equality (2018-2022). This strategy, adopted during the Interministerial International Cooperation and Development Committee meeting of 8 February 2018, is the concrete international embodiment of the President’s commitment to make gender equality the great cause of his term.
A strategy founded on law, justice and equality
Today, women and girls continue to face gender inequalities and discrimination across all world regions. They need to be actors of the proper functioning of societies and sustainable development, on an equal footing with men.
This strategy commits all France’s external action, above and beyond the sole area of development, in all its political, economic, soft diplomacy, cultural and educational aspects. This expansion involves the incorporation of internal ministerial commitments in terms of parity, in line with the ministerial road map for professional equality between women and men.
France’s foreign policy is founded on respect for women’s rights, gender equality and the refusal of all discrimination based on gender.
The strategy applies an integrated approach to equality between women and men, known as gender mainstreaming. This means taking into account gender equality in the objectives of all French policies, fields of action and external action instruments.
Sectoral policies for sustainable development
In accordance with the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), this strategy stresses:
Girls’ education. Enabling girls to stay at school means avoiding early marriage and pregnancy that deprive them of prospects of empowerment and right to decide over their body, their rights, and their participation in public and economic life.
Guaranteeing sexual and reproductive rights for women and girls. France defends a women’s rights diplomacy in line with its national policies, aimed at enabling all women and girls to enjoy the right to decide over of their body and access suitable sexual and reproductive health services.
Economic empowerment of women. France promotes the effective inclusion of the needs and role of women and girls in climate-related issues during national and International negotiations, in action plans and in field actions at local and international levels.
Free and equal access of women and girls to rights and justice, and protection against all forms of violence. The strategy takes into account the phenomenon of femicide, promotes the protection of the defenders of women’s rights and gender equality and the involvement of men and boys in combating violence against women and girls.
Strengthening the voice and effective participation of women and girls in public life and promoting the United Nations Women, Peace and Security Agenda. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, France will strive to achieve a change in perception, so that women are no longer seen solely as victims and so as to better highlight their role in conflict and post-conflict situations.
Objectives and action focuses.
The strategy aims above all to mainstream gender equality and gender in France’s external action. This aim is organized around several priorities:
1: Fostering an improved institutional culture promoting gender equality and inclusion of gender issues within the Ministry and its agencies. This means structuring and formalizing the governance and internal institutional promotion of the strategy, with high-level coordination by the Ministry’s Secretary-General.
Action focuses: improving internal practices on professional equality and parity, strengthening awareness-raising, training and support for staff, bolstering the network of gender equality champions and focal points and mainstreaming gender equality in the strategies and activities of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs’ twelve agencies.
2: Intensifying France’s political advocacy in the area of gender equality. France is a leading player in international and European forums, committed at the highest level to promoting women’s rights and empowerment. Faced with the risk of backsliding, France will continue, alongside its partners, to defend ambitious positions in favour of the rights of women and girls and will be a spearhead on the subject of women’s rights in international forums.
Action focuses: ensuring bilateral promotion of the gender issue in close liaison with the diplomatic posts, directorates and ministries concerned, as well as with agencies, and strengthening the promotion of gender equality within multilateral institutions. On the bilateral aspect, the strategy encourages the inclusion of the gender equality theme in the agenda of political meetings.
3: Increasing and improving the consideration of gender equality in official development assistance (ODA). This means increasing funding aimed primarily or significantly at reducing gender inequalities, as well as ensuring that our sectoral priorities are funded through civil society organizations, increasing French contributions to international organizations promoting gender equality, and making progress in gender-sensitive budgeting.
Action focuses: strengthening the commitment of all government actors and agencies to achieve the goal of 50% all programmable French ODA having a favourable impact on gender equality by 2022.
4: Improving and strengthening the visibility, transparency and accountability of the work of the Ministry and its agencies in support of gender equality.
Action focuses: enhancing the accountability of ODA contributing to gender equality. The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs also proposes to enhance its communications strategy in support of equality, both internally and in its international activities.
5: Strengthening ties with civil society organizations, the private sector and the world of research to combat gender inequalities.
Action focuses: enhancing the expertise and visibility of French civil society organizations, forging stronger ties with the private sector, combating gender stereotypes and discrimination, and fostering research and capitalization on the theme of gender equality.