The making of "gender diplomacy" as a foreign policy pillar in Kenya and Namibia

SOURCE: Contemporary Africa and the foreseeable world order
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2019
TITLE AUTHOR(S): F.Onditi
SOURCE EDITOR(S): F.Onditi, G.Ben-Nun, C.D'Alessandro, Z.Levey
KEYWORDS: CONSULAR SERVICES, DIPLOMACY, GENDER EQUALITY, KENYA, NAMIBIA
DEPARTMENT: African Institute of South Africa (AISA)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10953
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/14328

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Abstract

Can the gender equality norm stand out as a game-changer in shaping a countrys foreign policy and diplomatic engagements? African states, like many other nations globally, often influence regional and global processes through foreign policy tools such as trade, politics, governance, law, and defense, as well as international norms such as gender equality (Crapol 1994). Gender-minded international relations theorists interpret international system by drawing from salient issues that influence women-men power relations (Youngs 2004). On this note, feminist scholars have argued that issues such as the international political economy, women rights, and women empowerment can be effective instruments of moderating women-men power relations when they become part and parcel of a countrys foreign policy (Tickner 1992; Peterson 1992). Despite the fact that gender equality norms have existed since 1970s (Stevenson 2016), African nations are still bedeviled with divergent conceptual and methodological problems in an attempt to bridge the gender gap in their foreign policies. Moreover, in most developing societies, foreign policies are often a product of a historically and structurally male-dominated patriarchal system (Porter 2013). This, therefore, explains why there are fewer women diplomats.