Does Female Leadership Matter? An Analysis of Swedish Foreign Ministers and their Parliamentary Speeches, 1955–2016

Research output: Working paper


The current Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström, has in her foreign policy statement claimed that a feminist foreign policy will be an integral part of activities throughout the Swedish Foreign Service. Even though an explicit ‘feminist foreign policy’ is a rather recent and ‘Swedish’ phenomenon, foreign policies in line with such a general ‘feminist’ agenda may have been implemented throughout history, by various foreign policy leaders. The question is, does the gender of leaders matter for foreign policy? The previous literature on women in foreign policy making has mainly been based on case studies of individual women in power, or on gender equality as key to explaining sustainable peace. We contribute to the literature on gender and foreign policy by systematically evaluating a claim that female foreign policy leaders make a difference, that is, having a female foreign policy leader in a country is likely to lead to certain policy outputs in the area of foreign policy. We evaluate this claim by analyzing the changes in policy rhetoric and suggested policy measures of Swedish foreign policy leaders, male and female, in their domestic foreign policy declarations during the post-world war II period.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Political Science, Lund University
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameSTANCE Working Papers Series

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