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Obama's Last Speech to the UN General Assembly

At a speech to the United Nations General Assembly today, President Obama looked back on his term and laid out the “course corrections” he suggested the world needs.
What we need is much more than a course correction — we need a feminist foreign policy. What would that look like? Here are some examples.
On Economic Policy:
Obama lamented “inequality within and among nations” but has championed policies (like the Trans Pacific Partnership) that produce those very inequalities. As the majority of the world’s poor, women are particularly harmed by this.
A feminist foreign policy would:

  • Guarantee paid maternal leave
  • Fully fund social services, instead of letting economies rely on countless hours of women’s unpaid care work

On Governance and Democracy:
Obama said, “I believe in … respect for human rights and civil society.” We’re still waiting for an Administration that will declare an end to the so-called “war on terror” and for the US itself to abide by international law. Guantanamo Bay detention camp is still open, and Obama has escalated the drone war to levels never before seen.
A feminist foreign policy would:

  • Abide by human rights, and end support to countries, like Saudi Arabia, Honduras and Israel, that abuse those rights
  • Support women human rights defenders worldwide facing down repressive governments and corporations

On Pursuing Peace:
When Obama pointed the finger at nations in the Middle East pushing “proxy wars that fuel disorder,” he would have done well to also look closer to home. The US has been a driver of those same proxy wars, such as by supplying Saudi attacks in Yemen. He said that there’s no “ultimate military victory to be won” in Syria, yet his Administration has carried out airstrikes and sent arms to Syrian rebels.
A feminist foreign policy would:

  • End US arms flows and support peace negotiations that include women civil society representatives, who have been shown to increase the chances of the peace lasting past 15 years by more than a third
  • Advance long-term policies that promote peace by creating equitable societies where families and communities can thrive
September 20, 2016