Walking the Talk aims to boost the adoption of Feminist Foreign Policies (FFP) and gender equality in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the European Union. The programme advocates for an increase in Official Development Assistance (ODA) dedicated to gender equality and women’s rights.
Working hand in hand with young people, we will advocate for inclusive foreign policies that champion gender equality and reflect the voices of women and LGBTIQ+ people from the Global South. This includes funding for progressive, intersectional feminist organisations in the Global South.
Why do we need a feminist foreign policy?
For too long, women and LGBTIQ+ persons have been left out of foreign policy decision-making, resulting in decisions on security, peace, international alliances, climate change and trade that don’t reflect their interests. Globally, conservative movements are now also countering the progress of women’s and LGBTIQ+ organisations, putting hard-won rights at risk.
This is why today, holding governments accountable for the implementation of their feminist policies, or in other words, ensuring that they really ‘walk their talk’ is crucial.
We envision a future where gender equality and inclusivity are at the centre of all foreign policy. The majority of people affected by these policies live in the Majority World (or ‘Global South’), so it is vital that their views and expertise are at the heart of decision-making processes, with policies reflecting true, lived realities.
This vision also calls for governments to take radical steps to address entrenched inequalities. But to help achieve this, progressive organisations in the Majority World led by women and LGBTIQ+ people need sufficient, reliable, and flexible funding. This financial support, whether through ODA or other funding avenues, will contribute to a vibrant, inclusive, and resilient international movement for gender equality.
By 2026 we aim to have achieved the following outcomes:
- The foreign policies and ODA of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the EU reflect the priorities and ideas of feminists from the Global South and North.
- There is more and better funding available for gender equality, through ODA or other channels, in these four countries and at the EU level.
- Funding from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the EU is more accessible for feminist organisations from the Global South.
Walking the Talk is led by a consortium of organisations based in four European countries: Equipop in France, Restless Development in the United Kingdom, the Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy in Germany, and Hivos in the Netherlands (leader of the consortium). Additionally, we plan to have a small team in Brussels to engage with Brussels-based NGOs as well as EU decision-makers.
We firmly believe that to effectively shift power in favour of women and LGBTIQ+ persons and push for foreign policies and ODA that leave no one behind, we must join forces and mobilise our (inter)national networks.
This means we take an anti-racist and intersectional approach, which embraces gender and sexual diversity. Together, we become something greater than the sum of our parts, working to create more feminist, inclusive and equitable foreign policies to progress Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5); achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. This SDG is also one of the goals most off track.
While we are a consortium of organisations based in the Minority World, and focus our engagement work on decision-makers (and the wider public) in Europe, our work will be steered by rightsholders from the Majority World. This means that South-North co-creation is at the heart of our consortium strategy, research, communication, and advocacy efforts.
We will create inclusive spaces such as annual Feminist Advocacy Conferences and more intimate Advocacy Labs, where feminists from the Majority and Minority Worlds can co-strategise on the best way to convince decision-makers in the North of their ideas.
In the four focus countries, we face different political contexts and stages regarding the adoption or implementation of FFPs and therefore have different goals.
In the United Kingdom and the EU, we will be contributing to much of the needed groundwork to ensure more progressive policies and practices on gender equality and funding for ODA.
For France, Germany, and the Netherlands which have adopted a FFP, the focus is on translating these commitments into concrete policies, ensuring funding reaches progressive feminist organisations in the Global South, and keeping governments accountable for their policies.
While the Netherlands announced the introduction of a FFP in 2022 and held a major conference in early November 2023, we have yet to see results realised. After the Freedom Party, a far-right party won national elections in 2023, efforts must now intensify to ensure that the announced FFP is moving ahead.
Period and budget
August 2023 – July 2026, 7 million USD.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding Hivos.
Restless Development is a women-led and feminist-centred non-profit global youth agency with 35 years of experience supporting the collective power of young leaders to create a better world, from the grassroots to the high-policy level. Restless Development brings expertise on making Youth Power a reality, drawing on youth-led research, advocacy and inclusive co-creation, as well as an extensive network of 2,000+ women and girls-focused youth civil society organisations as part of the Youth Collective.
Equipop is a feminist international organisation working to improve the rights and health of women and girls worldwide, focusing particularly on their sexual and reproductive rights and health. Equipop champions feminist values and places the gender approach at the heart of its work.
Equipop is an evolving organisation with some forty staff across its offices in Dakar, Ouagadougou, and Paris. It supports and works with over one hundred partner organisations and feminist activists in 12 countries.
The Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy’s (CFFP) is a key resource centre and strong advocate for the development, adaptation, and implementation of FFPs, with a successful track record in building political momentum and convincing governments to adopt FFPs. The CFFP has a strong European and international network, with a clear focus on intersectional feminism that includes bridging feminist, anti-racist, decolonial and LGBTQIA networks and organisations. The CFFP’s mission is to eradicate global inequalities in the most effective way possible, by seeing a feminist approach applied to all foreign, security, and international assistance policy worldwide. The work of the CFFP is focused across 6 programmatic areas: FFP, Feminist Peace and Security, Anti-Racism, Climate Justice, Human Rights and Feminist International Cooperation.
Hivos is an international development organisation guided by humanist values. Together with citizens and their organisations, it aims to contribute towards just, inclusive and life sustaining societies where people have equal access to opportunities, rights and resources. It works in partnership with others in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America on three impact areas: Civic Rights in a Digital Age; Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion; and Climate Justice. Hivos’ approach is solution driven, and it builds wider movements for change by amplifying and connecting voices.