Nothing about feminism without feminists.
Our mission is to promote critical, multilingual dialogues about feminism, foreign policy, international security, and diplomacy in Mexico and Latin America, in general. Loyal to our feminist values, we are interested in promoting plurality, collective action, accountability, and transparency regarding public policies that include a gender perspective.
We firmly believe that civil society has a fundamental role to open spaces for dialogue, such as this one. For this reason, we seek to analyze and study international developments, global power dynamics and the role played by various stakeholders (including international bodies, transnational communities and peripheral activisms) with the purpose of nurturing and informing feminist debates that interweave the local and global.
Our objective is to contribute to the movement-building led by activists, collectives, and civil society to reappropriate the international gender equality agenda. Our vision is that of an alliance that builds, monitors, and evaluates public policies and initiatives that guarantee an inclusive approach and radical feminist transformation.
WHO ARE WE
We are feminists who are passionate about international relations and diplomacy. We analyze and study foreign policies and international security from a gender perspective with the purpose of nurturing and informing debates about Mexico and Latin America in international feminist spheres.
Feminist struggles have always been international. Since the First World War, feminists have identified the link between war and their political rights. They have contributed a unique perspective to the international relations realm by underscoring power asymmetries in the international system. For example, they have pointed out gender disparities during armed conflicts and have argued that the pillars for rethinking security should be humans, not states.
Decades of feminist activism around the globe have yielded results on many fronts. In 1975, Mexico City was the host city of the First World Conference on Women. The three following conferences and revisions introduced the concept of gender in various international regimes regarding human rights, international development, and migration, among others. The concept of a ‘gender perspective’ was born from these efforts. Henceforth, the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Plan for Action advocated for implementing a gender mainstreaming approach to public policies.
The 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women (CEDAW), the 1994 Convention Belém Do Pará, and the 1325 United Nations Security Council resolution from 2000 are references regarding the differentiated effects of violence and armed conflicts on women. The Women, Peace and Security Agenda unfolds from these international instruments while incorporating elements from the Beijing Declaration and Plan for Action and Namibia’s National Action Plan.
Feminists, including Mexican feminists, are protagonists in the history of these developments. Their research lay the foundation for the drafting of the aforementioned instruments and it was their persistent lobbying that nudged states and international organizations toward creating these agreements in the first place.
The initiative behind this platform is born from the urgent need to reappropriate the feminist banner in the international relations realm, particularly in Mexico and Latin America. We specifically seek to politicize international feminism in Mexico in the context of the country’s adoption of a Feminist Foreign Policy. Feminist debates are often stifled by the patriarchal, capitalist system and are manipulated to become more digestible. This has happened on many previous occasions and will likely continue to happen. We wish to flag and mitigate this risk.
Many feminists, although we celebrate state efforts to adopt and implement gender mainstreaming approaches, remain skeptical about the capacity of a patriarchal body to become a true feminist ally. In the words of Audre Lorde, “the Master’s tools will never dismantle the Master’s house.” Can states remodel their institutions in such a way that equality becomes a reality, or will feminist ideals be manipulated to fit a patriarchal and colonialist agenda? If it is the latter, how do we avoid this from happening?
When states declare themselves feminist, they open the door for feminist activists to demand accountability, congruence, and a seat at the table. Nonetheless, we also need to build a bridge. Why should feminist activists care about international instruments and policies? In a country where women’s insecurity is caused by quotidian factors, how are we affected by instruments that are tailored to different contexts, with different resources and armed conflicts (or lack thereof)? Why should we be involved?
Feminism is not static and must be redefined in accordance with the movements that shape and (in)form it. In this context, we ought to ask ourselves, what does feminism in the international arena mean for the new generation of Mexican feminists? With the resurgence of feminist struggles in Latin America, we should also ask ourselves, what are the answers that feminism offers regarding the relations and specific issues of the countries in the region? What role should feminism play when addressing violence, economic inequality, the defense of the land, and the climate crisis?
During the last two years, the Mexican government published two key policy instruments: a Feminist Foreign Policy and its first National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. To be designed and implemented successfully, both policies ought to be grounded in the country’s local context and include the substantive participation of civil society. If done so correctly, both policies have enormous potential to resolve some of Mexico’s, and Latin America’s, most pressing issues (many of which disproportionately harm women).
While Mexico’s Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP) defines the country’s foreign policy priorities regarding gender equality, the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (NAP) delineate the specific policies Mexico is implementing to guarantee the participation and protection of women in contexts of peace, armed conflict and post-conflict. The NAP also includes measures to prevent gender-based violence and provide aid and relief for survivors.
The launch of both instruments–FFP and the NAP–was met with applause from feminist international stakeholders. However, in Mexico, they were met with caution. Civil society was not formally consulted or included in the creation, implementation, or evaluation of either. Both policies were designed solely from a vertical, state-centered perspective.
It is in this context that we launch a call to action to Mexican and Latin American feminist civil society to reclaim our principles and advocate for them by speaking truth to power.
- Our feminism is antiracist and transinclusive. We understand that not all anti-patriarchal struggles identify as feminist and that our work is always influenced by our identity and social position.
- The international is local and vice versa. For too long, international issues have been reserved for narrow fields of experience. We value the lived experiences of all.
- Feminism is built collectively. We support this platform by leveraging a consultation circle that is always open to new voices. Our priority is to build networks. Together we go further.