The Feminist International Assistance Program and Future Approaches to Feminist Foreign Policy

  • Alysha Aziz University of Ottawa


Feminist analysis can highlight previously hidden or unrecognized inequalities in international foreign policy. The goal of this analysis was to examine feminist foreign policy, as Canada looked to improve international relations through a feminist approach. I begin with a brief review of relevant concepts related to this area of policy as it lays the groundwork for further exploring Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Program (FIAP). Next, I explore theoretical discussions of what should be considered in developing feminist foreign policy. This is followed by a summary of the FIAP in order to understand the context of this analysis and better understand the goals of this policy. Moreover, an exploration of the absence of an intersectional feminist lens and preoccupation with economic activity as a means to end gender equality in the FIAP. Finally, some of the ways Canada and other countries can learn from this iteration of feminist foreign policy will be discussed including achieving gender equality as an ends rather than a means and a reorientation of the term feminist. Canada’s FIAP is an important step in inclusive foreign policies but the program’s absence of an intersectional approach and its focus on economic aspects of emancipation are insufficient in working towards the emancipation of women.