Sowing the Seeds of Its Own Failure: Implementing the Concept of Gender Mainstreaming
- Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society
- Oxford University Press
- Volume 18, Number 4, Winter 2011
- pp. 469-489
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Despite initial optimism, gender mainstreaming often turns into a formalistic exercise whilst losing sight of its broader goal of promoting gender equality. This article suggests that a problem is gender mainstreaming's largely undefined goal, combined with a rational logic underpinning its implementation. We apply a typology distinguishing substantive, procedural, and combined gender-mainstreaming initiatives to analyze Belgian gender-mainstreaming policies since 1995. Our findings suggest an evolution from more procedural to more combined mainstreaming policies. The rationalist perception underlying gender mainstreaming, in combination with the absence of a gender equality policy objective, turns gender mainstreaming into a formal exercise.