This article focuses on gender mainstreaming in practice using the example of agriculture departments in Australia. Gender mainstreaming is a policy initiative adopted internationally following the Beijing women's conference in 1995 to address gender inequality. The move represents a policy shift from a focus solely addressing women's disadvantage to a broader attention to gender inequality. This article provides an historical overview of the move toward gender mainstreaming in the international environment, as well as a theoretical critique. Using the Australian case example, the shift of attention from rural women to gender mainstreaming in Australian agricultural departments appears to be taking place with little understanding of the concept of gender mainstreaming or its goals. It is further argued that recent moves by government departments of agriculture toward gender mainstreaming may have disadvantaged women. This article argues that, while in theory mainstreaming is a more successful way of addressing gender inequality, in practice it risks reducing attention to women unless changes occur in departmental cultures and gender mainstreaming accountability measures are introduced at international and national levels.


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pp. 123-147
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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