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New Spark for Global Grassroots Women’s Voices in US Policymaking

Today, the international women’s rights organization MADRE announced the launch of its Feminist Foreign Policy Jumpstart, an initiative to bring global women’s voices and solutions to progressive policymaking in the US.

This initiative seeks to enable policymakers to champion feminist foreign policy positions, to spotlight the leadership and expertise of grassroots women directly impacted by US policies, and to strengthen a rights-based approach to foreign policy.

“We are launching this initiative because this is a vital moment for us to act,” said Yifat Susskind, Executive Director. “US foreign policy is in need of a new guiding ethic. To achieve a truly progressive, transformative foreign policy — one that upholds human rights and protects the planet — we need women’s leadership. Grassroots women worldwide have deep knowledge about the impacts of US policies on their communities and solutions to some of the defining crises of our time, from peacebuilding to climate justice and beyond. This initiative opens new channels of engagement between these local leaders and US policymakers.”

MADRE noted that the recent shift in power in the US Congress reflects the impact of women’s strengthened political organizing and leadership and offers new opportunities for progressive action. However, even amid the renewed calls for a progressive foreign policy agenda, global women’s perspectives and feminist analyses remain sorely lacking.

Susskind further noted, “By embracing the potentials of feminist foreign policy, progressive policymakers gain even more than avenues to protect women’s rights, as vital as that is. They also gain experts with valuable perspectives in the work to counter the global rise of right-wing authoritarianism: grassroots women working to confront militarism, environmental destruction, economic exploitation, political repression and more.”

The Feminist Foreign Policy Jumpstart will advance a policy agenda developed in partnership with grassroots women worldwide and create opportunities for local women leaders to present their expertise and testimonies to US policymakers. This initiative will focus on three priority areas: offering a global gender justice perspective on the Green New Deal; advancing the voices of women peacebuilders on the frontlines of war to bring lasting peace and stability; and confronting the crisis of gender violence against migrant women.

“We already have what we need to succeed, and a jumpstart will accelerate our progress,” said Diana Duarte, MADRE’s Policy and Communications Director. “Women like MADRE's partners worldwide are already doing the work to protect their communities against war and disaster. They know well what it means to navigate crises worsened or opportunities offered by US foreign policy. This gives them vital knowledge to offer solutions and transform a progressive foreign policy agenda.”

March 8, 2019