That kind of information, Ms. Linde said, can then be used to inform future policy. Even though Sweden as a member of the European Union can’t, in most cases, sign its own trade agreements with other countries, it consistently pushes the E.U. to analyze data and consider these kinds of gender blind spots during negotiations.
Some other examples of its feminist foreign policy at work: In 2017, when Sweden held the presidency of the United Nations Security Council, the most powerful arm of the global member organization, it insisted on including more women in high-level debates and negotiations. In 2018, when hosting the U.N.-backed Yemen peace talks, Margot Wallström, Sweden’s then foreign minister who spearheaded its feminist approach, insisted that both sides include female delegates. When just one woman was put forward, Sweden worked to bring over a group of female Yemeni activists and policy experts anyway, hoping their presence would lead to more informal interactions at the sidelines of the negotiations, an important channel for diplomacy.
As of 2018, Sweden was the only country in the world that allocated almost 90 percent of its aid money for organizations focused on gender equality, compared with the United States’ 28 percent, according to an O.E.C.D. report. Among the aid recipients are organizations that aren’t overtly focused on women and girls but in some way contribute to gender equality by building clean water supplies or transportation systems that were designed using carefully analyzed data, or disaggregated data, to ultimately improve the lives of women and men.
And, as soon as the World Health Organization pronounced the spread of the coronavirus a pandemic in March, Sweden — though widely criticized for its handling of the virus at home — boosted its funding for organizations focused on keeping sexual and reproductive health services around the world up and running, like DKT.
A growing trend
A handful of other countries — France, Canada and, most recently, Mexico — have since adopted or announced intentions to adopt a feminist foreign policy, though with varying levels of ambition, Ms. Thompson said.
Although it announced its intention in 2019, France has yet to publish a formal policy framework. Canada, which also hasn’t published its full policy yet, pledged in 2017 that by 2021 it would earmark 95 percent of its foreign aid spending on promoting gender equality. And Mexico, which formally adopted a feminist foreign policy in January, has expanded its purview of feminism to include “not only women’s rights but L.G.B.T.Q. people’s rights, climate change, immigration and trade,” Ms. Thompson said.