Backlash against the use of feminist language in policies and formal state communications hinders the effectiveness of such documents. For example, in the case of the international Arms Trade Treaty, some governments and lobbying groups supported the conventional phrase violence against women and children, but objected to the feminist preferred wording, gender-based violence when calling attention to gender and weaponry export.*
Problems cannot be solved unless they are accurately named. Those writing and advocating for feminist foreign policies need to be prepared for backlash and thus, equipped with a readied toolkit that can help prevent feminist messaging from becoming compromised when faced with aversion.
Who Should Act:
Campaigners and champions of gender equality, both within and outside of government. Feminist actors should join together to share best practice around approaches such as: how to build a case for feminist language, ways to grow high level support for feminist language and how to engage allies.
*Cynthia Enloe. Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics. (University of California Press, 2014): 26.