Gender Mainstreaming: Views of a Post-Beijing Feminist

  • Anouka van Eerdewijk


Let me first situate myself as a post-Beijing feminist. In 1995, at the time of the Fourth World Conference on Women, I was a development studies student in a Dutch university. I remember the term ‘gender mainstreaming’ being introduced in one of the lectures, and what I remember mostly is that I did not really get what it was about. It was only 13 or 14 years later that I actively engaged with its theory, its history and its practice. By then, the notion of away-streaming had become fully mainstream terminology, and much of the theoretical and practical debates focused on how gender mainstreaming had failed to bring the transformation it had promised. I am recalling this personal history to situate my own position in the understanding of gender mainstreaming. I am not of the Beijing generation, therefore my engagement with gender mainstreaming has been a reconstruction exercise; over the past seven years or so, as I have tried to understand the context in which gender mainstreaming was launched, and the high expectations of as well as the disappointments in it. In this effort I have mostly been inspired, rather than disappointed or frustrated. Maybe it is because I have not lived the highs of the global get-together of women in the mid-1990s, that I also have not lived the disappointment in the same way as some of the Beijing generation. That does not mean that I do not recognize the critiques and the frustrations.


International Development Gender Equality Feminist Scholarship Transformative Potential Private Sector Company 
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. Bacchi, C. (2005) Discourse, Discourse Everywhere: Subject ‘Agency’ in Feminist Discourse Methodology. Nordic Journal of Women’s Studies, 13(3), 198–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Batliwala, B. (2007) Taking Power Out of Empowerment. Development in Practice, 17(4&5), 557–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Batliwala, S. and D. Dhanraj (2007) Gender Myths that Instrumentalize Women: A View from the Indian Frontline, in A. Cornwall, E. Harrison and A. Whitehead (eds) Feminisms in Development: Contradictions, Contestations and Challenges. London: Zed Books, 21–34.Google Scholar
  4. Benschop, Y. and M. Verloo (2006) Sisyphus’ Sisters: Can Gender Mainstreaming Escape the Genderedness of Organizations? Journal of Gender Studies, 1(1), 19–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chant, S. and C. Sweetman (2012) Fixing Women or Fixing the World? ‘Smart Economics’, Efficiency Approaches, and Gender Equality in Development. Gender & Development, 20(3), 517–529.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cornwall, A., E. Harrison and A. Whitehead (2007) Gender Myths and Feminist Fables: The Struggle for Interpretive Power in Gender and Development. Development and Change, 38(1), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davids, T., F. van Driel and A. van Eerdewijk (2011) Governmentalities and Moral Agents in the Local/Global Nexus: Male Pre-Marital Sexuality in Dakar. Senegal, Globalizations, 8(2), 197–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Davids, T., F. van Driel and F. Parren (2014) Feminist Change Revisited: Gender Main-streaming as a Slow Revolution. Journal of International Development, 26, 396–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dean, M. (2004) Governmentality, Power and Rule in Modern Society. London, New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. van Eerdewijk, A. (2014) The Micropolitics of Evaporation: Gender Mainstreaming Instruments in Practice. Journal of International Development, 26, 345–355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. van Eerdewijk, A. and I. Dubel (2012) Substantive Gender Mainstreaming and the Missing Middle. Gender and Development, 19(3), 491–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. van Eerdewijk, A. and T. Davids (2011a) On Track with Gender: Revitalizing the Agenda for Gender Mainstreaming, in Paul Hoebink (ed.) The Netherlands Yearbook on International Cooperation 2009. Assen: Van Gorcum, 103–118.Google Scholar
  13. van Eerdewijk, A. and T. Davids (2011b) Reclaiming the Transformative Potential: Gender Mainstreaming in Dutch Development Cooperation, in J. Motmans, D. Cuypers, P. Meier, D. Mortelmans and P. Zanoni (eds) Equal is Not Enough: Challenging Differences and Inequalities in Contemporary Societies: Conference Proceedings. Antwerp: Policy Research Centre on Equal Opportunities, University of Antwerp and Hasselt University, 288–308.Google Scholar
  14. van Eerdewijk, A. and T. Davids (2014) Escaping the Mythical Beast: Gender Mainstream-ing Reconceptualised. Journal of International Development, 26, 303–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Eyben, R. (2007) ‘Battles over booklets, gender myths in the British Aid Programme’, in A. Cornwall, E. Harrison and A. Whitehead (eds) Feminisms in Development: Contradictions, Contestations and Challenges. London: Zed Books, 65–78.Google Scholar
  16. Eyben, R. (2010) Subversively Accommodating: Feminist Bureaucrats and Gender Main-streaming. IDS Bulletin, 41(2), 54–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eyben, R. (2013). Uncovering the Politics of ‘Evidence’ and ‘Results’. A Framing Paper for Development Practitioners. (accessed 16 November 2015).Google Scholar
  18. Ferguson, J. (2009) The Uses of Neoliberalism. Antipode, 41(S1), 166–184.Google Scholar
  19. Goetz, A. M. (2006/1995) Institutionalizing Women’s Interests and Accountability to Women in Development. IDS Bulletin, 37(4), 71–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kriszan, A. and E. Lombardo (2012). The Quality of Gender Equality Policies: A Discursive Approach. European Journal of Women’s Studies, 20(1), 77–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lombardo, E. and P. Meier (2006) Gender Mainstreaming in the EU: Incorporating a Feminist Reading? European Journal of Women’s Studies, 13(2), 151–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lombardo, E., P. Meier and M. Verloo (eds) (2009) The Discursive Politics of Gender Equality: Stretching, Bending and Policymaking. London, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. do Mar Pereira, Maria (2012) ‘Feminist Knowledge is Proper Knowledge, But?…’ The Status of Feminist Scholarship in the Academy. Feminist Theory, 13(3), 283–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Moser, C. (1989) Gender Planning in the Third World: Meeting Practical and Strategic Gender Needs. World Development, 17(11), 1799–1825.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Moser, C. and A. Moser (2005) Gender Mainstreaming Since Beijing: A Review of Success and Limitations in International Institutions. Gender and Development, 13(2), 11–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mosse, D. (2004) Is Good Policy Unimplementable? Reflections on the Ethnography of Aid Policy and Practice. Development and Change, 35(4), 639–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mukhopadhyay, M. (2014) Mainstreaming Gender or Reconstituting the Mainstream? Gender Knowledge in Development. Journal of International Development, 26, 356–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. OECD (2007) Gender Equality and Aid Delivery: What has Changed in Development Cooperation Agencies Since 1999? Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.Google Scholar
  29. Okali, C. (2012) Gender Analysis: Engaging with Rural Development and Agricultural Policy Processes (Working Paper 26). Future Agricultures.Google Scholar
  30. Parpart, J. (2014) Exploring the Transformative Potential of Gender Mainstreaming in International Development Institutions. Journal of International Development, 26, 382–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Prügl, E. (2004) International Institutions and Feminist Politics. The Brown Journal of World Affairs, X(2), 69–84.Google Scholar
  32. Roggeband, C. (2014) Gender Mainstreaming in Dutch Development Cooperation: the Dialectics of Progress. Journal of International Development, 26, 332–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Roggeband, C. and M. Verloo (2006) Evaluating Gender Impact Assessment in the Netherlands (1994–2004): a Political Process Approach. Policy & Politics, 34(4), 617–634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Squires, J. (2005) Is Gender Mainstreaming Transformative? Theorizing Mainstreaming in the Context of Diversity and Deliberation. Social Politics, 12(3), 366–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Standing, H. (2007) Gender, Myth and Fable: The Perils of Mainstreaming in Sector Bureaucracies, in A. Cornwall, E. Harrison and A. Whitehead (eds) Feminisms in Development: Contradictions, Contestations and Challenges. London: Zed Books, 101–111.Google Scholar
  36. Stone, D. (2008) Global Public Policy: Transnational Policy Communities, and their Networks. Policy Studies Journal, 36(1), 19–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Subrahmanian, R. (2007) Making Sense of Gender in Shifting Institutional Contexts: Some Reflections on Gender Mainstreaming, in A. Cornwall, E. Harrison and A. Whitehead (eds) Feminisms in Development: Contradictions, Contestations and Challenges. London: Zed Books, 112–121.Google Scholar
  38. United Nations (1997) Report on the Economic and Social Council for 1997, A/52/3, 18 September 1997.Google Scholar
  39. van der Vleuten, A. and A. van Eerdewijk (2014) Regional Governance, Gender and Transnationalism: A First Exploration, in A. Van der Vleuten, A. Van Eerdewijk and C. Roggeband (eds) Gender Equality Norms in Regional Governance: Transnational Dynamics in Europe, South America and Southern Africa. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 17–41.Google Scholar
  40. Verloo, M. (2005) Displacement and Empowerment: Reflections on the Concept and Practice of the Council of Europe Approach to Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Equality. Social Politics, 12(3), 344–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Whitehead, A. (2006/1979) Some Preliminary Notes on the Subordination of Women. IDS Bulletin, 37(4), 24–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wong, F. (2013) Following the Commitment: Development NGOs and Gender Main-streaming: The Case of Oxfam GB. Doctoral thesis, University of Sussex.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Anouka van Eerdewijk 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anouka van Eerdewijk

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations