Beyond Binaries: Strategies for a 21st-Century Gender Equality Agenda

  • Aruna Rao
  • Joanne Sandler


Written ten years ago, Mukhopadhyay’s article, ‘Mainstreaming Gender or ‘Streaming’ Gender Away’, sits at a fascinating juncture in relation to feminist pathways for changing development institutions to advance cultures of equality. The debates about gender mainstreaming as a conceptual framework and as a strategy had significant resonance during the first ten years of the new century. Gender mainstreaming had been hailed as a strategy of choice at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing held in 1995. Less than a decade later a slew of reports and meetings — from the Norway-sponsored meeting Strategies for Gender Equality: Is Mainstreaming a Dead End? (Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2002) to the metaevaluations undertaken by Norway and others,1 — contributed to the growing chorus of voices proclaiming the questionable uptake, cost-benefit or results that most large development agencies had experienced with gender mainstreaming. The lack of accountability for implementing policies and strategies, the millions of dollars invested in watered-down gender training, the growing networks of gender specialists struggling with each other and their institutions for a shrinking pie was constantly interrogated by, what Prugl calls, an ‘international cadre of gender experts who play a key role in translating feminist knowledge into policy applications … [becoming] instruments in the government of gender’ (Prugl 2010).


Gender Equality Sexual Violence Security Council Gender Specialist Security Council Resolution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arutyunova, A. and C. Clark (2013) Watering the Leaves and Starving the Roots. Washington, DC: AWID.Google Scholar
  2. AWID (2014) New Actors, New Money. Washington, DC: AWID.Google Scholar
  3. Eyben R. (2013) Gender Mainstreaming, Organizational Change, and the Politics of Influencing, in Rosalind Eyben and Laura Turquet (eds) Feminists in Development Organizations: Change from the Margins. Rugby Warwickshire: Practical Action, 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Eyben, R. and Laura Turquet (2013) Feminists in Development Organizations: Change from the Margins. Rugby Warwickshire: Practical Action.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Htun, M. and S. Laurel Weldon (2012) The Civic Origins of Progressive Policy Change: Combating Violence Against Women in Global Perspective, 1975–2005. American Political Science Review, 106(3) August, 548–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. IFAD Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) (2013) Gender Equality and Development Evaluation Units: Lessons from Evaluations of Development Support of Selected Multilateral and Bilateral Agencies, ECG Paper #5, Rome: IFADGoogle Scholar
  7. Molyneux, M. (1998) Analysing Women’s Movements. Development and Change, 29(2), 219–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2002) Strategies for Gender Equality: Is Mainstreaming a Dead End? Report from an Informal Consultation of Gender Focal Points in Multilateral Development Organizations, NMFA, Oslo.Google Scholar
  9. Operations Evaluation Department (OPEV) (2011) Mainstreaming Gender Equality: A Road to Results or a Road to Nowhere? An Evaluation Synthesis. Working Paper, African Development Bank.Google Scholar
  10. Prügl, E. (2010) Gender Expertise and Feminist Knowledge. Paper Presented at the Conference on Gender Politics in International Governance, Graduate Institute, Geneva, 6–8 October.Google Scholar
  11. Sandler, J. (2015) The ‘Warriors Within’: How Feminists Change Bureaucracies and Bureaucracies Change Feminists, in R. Baksh and W. Harcourt (eds) OUP Handbook on Transnational Feminist Movements Oxford. New York: Oxford University Press, 188–214.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Aruna Rao and Joanne Sandler 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aruna Rao
  • Joanne Sandler

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations