Kristina Lunz is no stranger to the field of feminist foreign policy. The political scientist, activist and founder of the “Centre for Feminist Foreign Policy” brings together the major issues of the political arena, focusing in particular on international foreign policy, which for her is indispensably linked to feminism.
We were able to take an exclusive look at her first book “The future of foreign policy is feminist. How global crises must be solved.“which will be published by Econ Verlag on February 24, 2022. Here she writes about making women visible worldwide on all (foreign) political and diplomatic stages, presents interesting examples from her own political work, and in an exciting way clearly demonstrates to readers why a feminist-oriented foreign policy seems long overdue and should finally be implemented.
In doing so, she makes clear in her book: “Feminist foreign policy concerns all areas of diplomacy, foreign and security policy. It offers a new perspective, since it is obvious that we cannot continue with ‘business as usual’. In addition to the concepts already outlined, it is based on human rights, is characterized by civil society; it is transparent, anti-militaristic, and focused on climate justice and cooperation instead of domination over others (Lunz 2022, p.53f.).”
In this context, the FemalExperts editorial team not only had the opportunity to address this particularly content-heavy and highly explosive topic in terms of content, but also to ask Kristina herself some exclusive questions about the book. So we would like to give you a little impression in advance.
Thank you for your willingness to participate in our short interview. We want to dive right back into your exciting read because we couldn’t put it down.
1. in chapter 3 (“DIPLOMACY: IT’S A MAN’S WORLD”) you deal intensively with the topic of “women and diplomacy”. Can you give our readers a brief insight into how the diplomatic stage is available to women?
In an equal society, all people should have equal access to foreign policy and diplomacy. On these stages, the great challenges of our time are discussed, whether the pandemic, the climate catastrophe, attacks on the human rights system or increasing armament. All the big issues cannot be solved nationally, but must be solved internationally and diplomatically. But the problem is that historically, women have simply been excluded from diplomacy. In Germany, they have been able to become diplomats since 1949, and it is only since the 1980s that there have been diplomatic courses and training for diplomats. It is therefore not surprising that a German foreign minister has only been in office since last year. That’s crass and that’s not how it works.
Worldwide, only about 10% of all heads of state and heads of government are female, and between 20 and 25% of all ambassadors worldwide are women. As a result, the realities of women’s lives are correspondingly absent from diplomatic decisions. This leads, among other things, to the fact that in the 1990s sexualized violence in conflict, like rape as a weapon of war, was only addressed through international law, even though sexualized violence in conflict and rape as a weapon of war have existed for as long as conflicts themselves have existed. Meanwhile, women have a bit more access to diplomacy, but they are far from equal and that needs to change.
Our editors found your language (e.g. “Old white men”, chapter 4) refreshing as well as very critical. You are open, transparent, as well as direct, and not only talk about seeking the conversation, but also use words like, “It should be clear that Feminist Foreign Policy and its activists are not fighting to simply get a seat at the table. Rather, it is about destroying the old one and building a completely new table (Lunz 2022, p.53.).” To what extent is it important, in terms of feminist foreign policy, to speak plainly from time to time?
It is always important to speak plainly. Especially when it comes to dismantling injustices and oppressive mechanisms. For a child born into our world and our society today, it is more likely to experience a nuclear attack than none. It is more likely to see a world in which, in a few decades, much of the land will be uninhabitable, in which the assaults on the human rights system will be blatant, and in which many people will slip into poverty, for example as a result of pandemics. We have no time for shallow or appeasing language.
The urgency on all of these issues is extreme. Accordingly, we have to get to the point and have no time for business as usual. We haven’t had that for many years and decades, and it has to be reflected in the language. Activists are often perceived in contrast to diplomats. Diplomats are the ones who find compromises and try to get everyone on board. Activists, on the other hand, are the ones who rush in regardless. I don’t think so. I think activism and diplomacy go great together because diplomacy and international politics need to change. We must finally use diplomatic means to help reduce disasters, such as climate catastrophe, pandemics, and injustices.
3. you reject the structures of patriarchy and all the risk factors that go with them, such as militarization, war or ignorance with regard to climate change. Can you give our female readers a tip on how they can personally work to recognize these structures as well and stand up to them with confidence?
We can all contribute to making the world and international politics less violent by breaking the binary, i.e. the societal mindset and narrative that armament, dominance, muscle play and threats, as we see now also in the Ukraine crisis, are seen as powerful, strong, right and positive, whereas disarmament, mediation as well as dialogue are dubbed as “feminine” and weak.
We can speak out against it and also oppose it in everyday life when violence and brutalization are threatened. We must not accept that such a thing is considered normal in our society, because it is not. It is not normal that our society is so violent. It is not normal for a man to try to kill a woman every day and succeed in doing so every third day. It is still not normal that every third day a woman is affected by male violence. These factors, which include the high levels of racial violence or violence against the LGBQTA community, are not laws of nature. Society is not broken or broken, it was built that way on purpose and we can help change that by not accepting these structures of violence.
thank you very much! We look forward to welcoming you back to our online magazine after your book release and learning more about your extraordinary dedication.
We wish you all the best for your book publication and will now take another look at your book ourselves.
About the author
Kinga Bartczak advises, coaches and writes on female empowerment, new work culture, organizational development, systemic coaching and personal branding. She is also the managing director of UnternehmerRebellen GmbH and publisher of the FemalExperts magazine .