Sweden, NATO and gendered silences on Feminist Foreign Policy

Katharine Wright, Annika Bergman Rosamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Sweden was the first state to adopt a Feminist Foreign Policy (FFP) in 2014, drawing on its state feminist tradition and support for the UN Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda. Yet following the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and its move to seek NATO membership - abandoning its non-alignment - a gendered silence on FFP pervaded. Significantly, this thus predated the official abandonment of FFP following the election of a new government in October 2022. NATO membership was viewed as incompatible with FFP. Yet, NATO has long sought to project itself as a gender just actor, including through engagement with the WPS agenda culminating in its inclusion in the 2022 Strategic Concept. Further, Sweden – as a NATO partner – had been a stalwart of the Alliance’s work on WPS. This article contributes to understanding the role of gendered silences in shaping strategic narratives, in this case concerning Sweden’s NATO membership bid. It provides insight for policy makers and diplomats on the impact gendered silence can have on the wider efficacy of FFP and WPS, even during processes such as NATO enlargement which might otherwise be viewed as ‘gender neutral’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)589–607
JournalInternational affairs
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2024


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