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Feminist Foreign Policy and Nuclear Weapons: Contributions and Implications

EUNPDC no 86_cover
Publisher: SIPRI
SIPRI, Stockholm:
November, 2023

This paper asks how Feminist Foreign Policies (FFP) fit with non-proliferation and disarmament goals. In particular, it highlights the multifarious and overlapping approaches to FFP and locates nuclear weapons as a feminist issue that requires a feminist response. How transformative the adoption of an FFP might be for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament is dependent on the specific vision of feminism adopted by a state. The paper uses the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as case studies to demonstrate that the way contemporary FFPs treat nuclear weapons is both inconsistent and equivocal. States use FFPs to navigate the tensions at the heart of relying on nuclear weapons for state security while pursuing a feminist agenda. Nonetheless, FFPs provide a discursive opportunity by providing an additional platform for states and advocates to stake their claim for nuclear disarmament. This discursive opportunity gives policymakers opportunities to broaden the framing of nuclear weapons policy and to reassess the implications of existing discourses and alternative visions of a feminist future.


I. Introduction

II. Nuclear weapons as a feminist issue

III. Claims for a Feminist Foreign Policy

IV. Policy recommendations

V. Conclusions


Laura Rose Brown is a PhD student at the University of Leeds. Her project explores the intersection of gender, and nuclear weapons non-proliferation and disarmament. Laura Rose is also a Policy Fellow at BASIC where she is developing policy outputs relevant to her scholarly research.