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Women to the negotiating tables

Report for a feminist foreign policy clears important hurdle

Yesterday was the big day: The European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET Committee) adopted the draft opinion on the report "Gender Equality in the EU's Foreign and Security Policy" by the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM Committee). The vote in the FEMM Committee will follow in mid-July. As the rapporteur responsible for the draft opinion, I am of course pleased about the approval in the AFET committee - the report comes at the right time:

Why this report is so important

In the last 20 years, we have seen numerous resolutions, strategies and action plans to reach gender equality in EU foreign and security policy. However, a look at actual numbers show that it is urgent to speed things up. Of the 12 missions of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP), for example, all 12 are led by men. The aim of the report therefore is to set clear benchmarks, quotas and timelines to reach the stated goals by the end of this legislature. By doing so, it provides a progressive input for the upcoming Gender Action Plan (GAP III), announced by the European Commission for October. The AFET vote today clearly shows strong cross-party support for the following changes:

Content of the report

- A women’s quota of 50% for management positions in the European External Action Service (EEAS)

- Mandatory gender equality trainings for all middle and senior managers of the EEAS and Heads/Commanders of CSPD missions and operations

- 85% of the official development assistance to be dedicated for programmes supporting gender equality

- Clear, measurable, time-bound objectives for the upcoming Gender Action Plan (GAP III), which provides the framework for the Commission, the EEAS and member states in their approach to gender equality through external action

- Establishing gender focal points in all EU Delegations

- Setting up the position of gender advisor in each EEAS Directorate, a person who works on gender equality and the topic of “Women, Peace and Security”

Result of votes/Next steps

The current draft report has won the approval of all major political groups (48 in favour, 12 against, 9 abstentions) in the European Parliament. The vote in plenary will take place this October.


This vote sends a strong signal: The text asks for important changes to make sure EU leaders put women’s rights and representation at the top of their foreign policy agenda. Gender equality cannot be achieved with vague declarations and plans, it is achieved with tangible actions – and this report shows how this can be done. Following the vote in the AFET Committee, I am now hopeful that the Parliament will approve the text with a strong majority in October.

MEP Hannah Neumann on the vote in the AFET Committee

Women need to be sit at the negotiation table! Women are currently underrepresented in key positions where decisions about the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy are taken. And they are often not sufficiently considered in the contents and implementation of this policy. This must change, and women around the globe cannot wait any longer for this change to happen. If the EU wants to be a leader for gender equality in the world, it must stop paying lip service and start putting the money where the mouth is. It must stop making promises and start setting clear goals. This year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1325 on ‘Women, Peace and Security’. We celebrate the 25th anniversary of the historic Beijing World Women’s Conference. There has never been a better moment to make gender equality a priority in the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy. The moment is now.

MEP Hannah Neumann on the vote in the AFET Committee Tweet

Online Lunch Discussion

MEPs Hannah Neumann and Ernest Urtasun (responsible rapporteur for the report in the FEMM Committee) have commissioned a study on a “Feminist Foreign Policy for the EU” with the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy (CFFP). This study will be presented at an online lunch discussion this Thursday, 25 June, at 12h CET. Participants will be Hannah Neumann and Ernest Urtasun alongside Kristina Lunz and Nina Bernarding from the CFFP. Register here:
Webinar Einladung mit den Namen und Gesichtern der Teilnehmenden Gäste

Further Information

Page of the European Parliament on the draft report

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