A feminist foreign policy may have been a radical move in 2015—and Sweden remains the only country to explicitly proclaim and detail a feminist foreign policy—but the country is no longer alone in its bold approach. Leaders in many countries—from Canada to Australia—now have taken steps to integrate a focus on gender equality and women’s rights into their international work.
The International Monetary Fund shattered its glass ceiling by appointing its first female head in 2011, France’s Christine Lagarde, who was also the first woman to serve as finance minister of a G7 economy. As it now searches for a new leader, the World Bank should appoint a woman as president for the first time in its 74 year history.

The ‘Year of the Woman’ goes global

Alexandra BroRachel Vogelstein / CNN
Around the world, women are vying for political office like never before, speaking out against harassment and discrimination, and winning seats at the table. A growing body of evidence suggests that this rise in women leaders can affect the political agenda here in Washington, and in capitals around the world, because increasing women's political representation is not simply a matter of fairness -- it is also a strategic imperative.
In 23 rounds of peace talks between 2005 and 2014, women were at the table on only two occasions. When officials from over 25 countries recently gathered for the Kabul Process, an Afghan-led peace conference, the room was overwhelmingly filled with men. If the conference is at all indicative of what future negotiations will look like, Afghan leaders should rethink their approach and pursue instead a proven strategy to improve the chances for peace: the participation of women.

Syria is devastated. Where are the women?

Jamille BigioRachel Vogelstein / CNN
Although UN-led talks began in 2012, it was not until 2016 that de Mistura appointed an advisory board of 12 female leaders to participate as third-party observers in the Geneva peace talks. Notably, the parallel Russian-led talks have mostly blocked women's participation. Women are also dramatically outnumbered in official roles in UN-led negotiations, comprising only 15% (four out of 26) of the opposition and government delegations at the December 2017 talks in Geneva. The newly launched Syrian Women's Political Movement is aiming for a 30% quota for women's participation to ensure an inclusive conflict-resolution process that delivers justice for all Syrian war victims.

When Sexual Harassment Is Legal

Jody HeymannRachel Vogelstein / Fortune
Many working women also remain unprotected against sex discrimination in other areas—including compensation, training, promotions, or demotions—which further jeopardizes their safety and status in the workplace. The absence of basic legal protections for women on the job creates the conditions in which abuse can thrive, since sexual harassment and assault are often presented as the price of admission for a job, raise, or promotion. For some women, impunity for discrimination in the workplace creates intolerable work environments. For others, it may deter entering the labor force altogether.