Gender Mainstreaming: Productive Tensions in Theory and Practice


Walby, S.Gender Mainstreaming: Productive Tensions in Theory and Practice”. In Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 1 October 2005, 12 (3), 321–343. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved January 05, 2019 from

Work data:

ISSN: 1468-2893

Type of work: Article (academic)


Gender | Politics and Political Science | Sociology


Gender mainstreaming is an essentially contested concept and practice. It involves the reinvention, restructuring, and rebranding of a key part of feminism in the contemporary era. It is both a new form of gendered political and policy practice and a new gendered strategy for theory development. As a practice, gender mainstreaming is a process to promote gender equality. It is also intended to improve the effectivity of mainline policies by making visible the gendered nature of assumptions, processes, and outcomes. However, there are many different definitions of gender mainstreaming as well as considerable variations in practice. As a form of theory, gender mainstreaming is a process of revision of key concepts to grasp more adequately a world that is gendered, rather than the establishment of a separatist gender theory. Gender mainstreaming encapsulates many of the tensions and dilemmas in feminist theory and practice over the past decade and provides a new focus for debates on how to move them on.