Gender mainstreaming is defended, at a theoretical level, as a transformatory new approach to equality. The central claim made in favour of gender mainstreaming as a gender equality strategy is that it offers a way of introducing gendered perspectives into the construction of equality norms, rendering it potentially more transformatory than those approaches that demand equal treatment in relation to norms that are not themselves questioned, or positive action approaches, which respond to the inequalities that result from structural bias but do not themselves unsettle the norms that generate this bias. Where the existence of false impartiality claims demands either acceptance of partial and discriminatory norms, via an equal-treatment approach, or the assertion of alternative marginalized norms, via a positive-action approach, mainstreaming appears to offer a way of displacing this dichotomy by reworking the norms in a manner more sensitive to the diverse realities of gendered practices. This political equality measure therefore appears, in theory at least, to be more firmly located within a strategy of displacement than are either gender quotas or women’s policy agencies.
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- Engendering Governance? Mainstreaming
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