Mainstream(ing) Has Never Run Clean, Perhaps Never Can: Gender in the Main/Stream of Development

  • Sara de Jong


It might be a daunting task in general to respond to Maitrayee Mukhopadhyay’s insightful and influential article about the limited effects of gender mainstreaming in development. However, this assignment is especially formidable given the fact that her article, with the beautiful evocative title ‘Mainstreaming Gender or “Streaming” Gender Away: Feminists Marooned in the Development Business’, stood at the beginning of an extensive and rich debate that has unfolded over the last ten years since the article’s publication in 2004. Concerns about the failure of gender mainstreaming to have the radical transformative impact it had been anticipated to offer post-Beijing have been expressed in numerous writings (Debusscher 2012; Lang 2009; Moser and Moser 2005; Parpart 2014; Walby 2005b) and in special issues dedicated to the topic (Feminist Legal Studies 2002; Gender and Development 2005; International Feminist Journal of Politics 2005; Social Politics 2005). Contributions to this debate have not limited themselves to diagnosing the (symptoms of the) problem and lamenting the dilution of gender mainstreaming once operationalized in NGOs and institutions, but consequently also discuss the possible reasons for its lack of success as well as potential solutions to make gender mainstreaming more effective.


Gender Equality Development Business Social Politics Unequal Power Relation Feminist Legal Study 


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© Sara de Jong 2016

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  • Sara de Jong

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