The two most striking challenges now facing gender equality strategies are the reconfiguration of state practices to embrace technocratic modes of governance, and the widespread embrace of ‘diversity’ as a governmental priority. These two developments resonate in different ways with the twin concerns that have haunted the three political equality measures under consideration, namely: whether the mechanisms designed to facilitate women’s increased political equality lead to the assimilation of women into existing political systems, rather than the transformation of those systems; and whether the mechanisms rely on essentializing notions of women and the women’s movement, which fail to recognize a more complex social diversity. While the emergence of a technocratic mode of governance appears to accentuate and entrench concerns about assimilation, the emergence of ‘diversity’ as a central policy problem appears, by contrast, to confront and unsettle concerns about essentialism.
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