Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-55597f9d44-jzjqj Total loading time: 0.284 Render date: 2022-08-12T19:30:58.057Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Diversity Management and Gender Mainstreaming as Technologies of Government

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2011

Elisabeth Prügl
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies


Diversity management and gender mainstreaming can be considered technologies of government in the Foucaultian sense; that is, they are technologies that guide people to conduct themselves in a particular manner; their purpose is the “conduct of conduct.” This article illustrates the value of applying a Foucaultian “analytics of government” to generate insights on the effects of inserting feminist knowledge into institutional contexts through the practices of gender mainstreaming and diversity management. I first reinterpret these strategies as technologies of government that meet the characteristics identified in the literature on governmentality. Second, I explore the liberal rationality of the contemporary apparatus of gender by juxtaposing it to the disciplinary rationality underlying efforts to govern women at the turn of the nineteenth century. Third, I tease out similarities and differences in the way in which diversity management and gender mainstreaming operate, emphasizing, in particular, the way in which they make difference productive and outlining how one deploys a neoliberal logic and the other a bureaucratic logic. Ultimately, I argue that governance feminism should be interpreted as the governmentalization of feminist knowledge; that is, feminist knowledge has been adapted so that it becomes available for the government of conduct.

Research Article
Copyright © The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Adler, Roy P., and Conclin, Ron. 2009. “Profit, Thy Name Is … Woman? The Consistent Correlation Between Women Executives and High Profitability.” Miller-McCune (27 February). (Accessed October 24, 2010).Google Scholar
Anand, Rohini, and Winters, Mary-Frances. 2008. “A Retrospective View of Corporate Diversity Training From 1964 to the Present.” Academy of Management Learning & Education 7 (3): 356–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Basu, Amrita, ed. 2010. Women's Movements in the Global Era: The Power of Local Feminisms. New York: Westview.Google Scholar
Bedford, Kate. 2008. “Governing Intimacy in the World Bank.” In Global Governance: Feminist Perspectives, ed. Rai, Shirin M. and Waylen, Georgina. Houndsmill, UK; Palgrave Macmillan, 84106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bell, Myrtle P., and Kravitz, David A.. 2008. “From the Guest Co-Editors: What Do We Know and Need to Learn About Diversity Education and Training?Academy of Management Learning & Education 7 (3): 301–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Benhabib, Seyla. 1995. “Feminism and Postmodernism: An Uneasy Alliance.” In Feminist Contentions: A Philosophical Exchange, by Benhabib, Seyla, Butler, Judith, Cornell, Drucilla, and Fraser, Nancy. New York: Routledge, 1734.Google Scholar
Yvonne, Benschop, and Verloo, Mieke. 2006. “Sisyphus' Sisters: Can Gender Mainstreaming Escape the Genderedness of Organizations?Journal of Gender Studies. 15 (March): 1933.Google Scholar
Bottom Line, The: Connecting Corporate Performance and Gender Diversity. 2004. New York: Catalyst.Google Scholar
Brown, Wendy. 1995. States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Building on Gender, Agrobiodiversity and Local Knowledge: A Training Manual. 2005. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.Google Scholar
Butler, Judith. 1990. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Çaglar, Gülay. 2009. Engendering der Makroökonomie und Handelspolitik: Potenziale transnationaler Wissensnetzwerke. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.Google Scholar
Cohn, Carol. 2008. “Mainstreaming Gender in UN Security Policy: A Path to Political Transformation.” In Global Governance: Feminist Perspectives, ed. Rai, S. M. and Waylen, G.. Houndsmill, UK: Palgrave, 185206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Combs, Gwendolyn M. and Luthans, Fred. 2007. Diversity Training: Analysis of the Impact of Self-Efficacy. Human Resources Development Quarterly 18, 1 (Spring): 91120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cornet, Annie. 2002. “Gender Mainstreaming et approche différenciée selon les sexes: quels impacts pour la gestion?[Gender mainstreaming and a sex-differentiated approach: What impacts for management?] Management International 7 (1): 110.Google Scholar
Dean, Mitchell. 2010. Governmentality: Power and Rule in Modern Society. 2d ed.Los Angeles: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
Egan, Mary Lou, and Bendick, Marc Jr. 2008. “Combining Multicultural Management and Diversity Into One Course on Cultural Competence.” Academy of Management Learning & Education 7 (3): 387–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ehrenreich, Barbara, and English, Deidre. 1978. For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts' Advice to Women. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press.Google Scholar
Foster Curtis, Ellen and Dreachslin, Janice L.. 2008. Diversity Management Interventions and Organizational Performance: A Synthesis of Current Literature. Human Resource Development Review 7, 1 (March): 107–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Foucault, Michel. 1977. Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews. Ed. and with Introduction by Bouchard, Donald F.. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Foucault, Michel. 1980. The History of Sexuality. Vol. 1: An Introduction. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
Foucault, Michel. 2007. Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the Collège de France 1977–1978, trans. Burchell, Graham. New York: Picador, Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Foucault, Michel. 2008. The Birth of Biopolitics: Lectures at the Collège de France 1978–1979, trans. Burchell, Graham: Houndsmill, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Hafner-Burton, Emilie M., and Pollack, Mark A.. 2009. “Mainstreaming Gender in the European Union: Getting the Incentives Right.” Comparative European Politics 7 (1): 114–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Halley, Janet, Kotiswaran, Prabha, Shamir, Hila, and Thomas, Chantal. 2006. “From the International to the Local in Feminist Legal Responses to Rape, Prostitution/Sex Work, and Sex Trafficking: Four Studies in Contemporary Governance Feminism.” Harvard Journal of Law & Gender 29: 335423.Google Scholar
Hartsock, Nancy. 1990. “Foucault on Power: A Theory for Women?” In Feminism/Postmodernism, ed. Nicholson, Linda. New York: Routledge, 157–75.Google Scholar
Hirshmann, Nancy. 2003. The Subject of Liberty. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Hirshmann, Nancy. 2008. Gender, Class, and Freedom in Modern Political Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Incite! Women of Color Against Violence, ed. 2007. The Revolution Will Not Be Funded: Beyond the Non-Profit Industrial Complex. Cambridge, MA: South End.Google Scholar
Lee, Othelia E. and Bertera, Elizabeth. 2007. Teaching Diversity by Using Instructional Technology: Application of Self-efficacy and Cultural Competence. Multicultural Education and Technology Journal 1, 2: 112–25.Google Scholar
Mazey, Sonia. 2000. “The Emergence of Gender Mainstreaming in the EU: Policy Succession in Hard Times.” Presented at Mainstreaming Gender in European Union Public Policy: A Workshop at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.Google Scholar
McBride, Dorothy E., and Mazur, Amy G.. 2010. The Politics of State Feminism: Innovation in Comparative Research. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
McVittie, Chris. 2008. “Organizational Knowledge and Discourse of Diversity in Employment.” Journal of Organizational Change 21 (3): 348–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Moser, Caroline. 2005. “Has Gender Mainstreaming Failed? A Comment on International Development Agency Experiences in the South.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 7 (December): 576–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Prügl, Elisabeth. 2009. “Does Gender Mainstreaming Work? Feminist Engagements with the German Agricultural State.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 11 (May): 174–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Prügl, Elisabeth. “Feminism and the Postmodern State: Gender Mainstreaming in European Rural Development.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 32 (Winter): 447–75.Google Scholar
Rose, Nikolas. 1987. “Beyond the Public/Private Division: Law, Power and the Family.” Journal of Law and Society 14 (Spring): 6176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rose, Nikolas. 1999. Powers of Freedom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rose, Nikolas, and Miller, Peter. 1992. “Political Power beyond the State: Problematics of Government.” British Journal of Sociology 43 (June): 173205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sawicki, Jana. 1991. Disciplining Foucault: Feminism, Power, and the Body. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Scott, Joan W. 1986. Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis. The American Historical Review 91, 5: 1053–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shen, Jie, Chanda, Ashok, D'Netto, Brian, and Monga, Manjit. 2009. “Managing Diversity through Human Resource Management: An International Perspective and Conceptual Framework.” International Journal of Human Resource Management 20 (February): 235–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Süss, Stefan, and Kleiner, Markus. 2008. “Dissemination of Diversity Management in Germany: A New Institutionalist Approach.” European Management Journal 26 (February): 3547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
True, Jacqui. 2003. “Mainstreaming Gender in Global Public Policy.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 5 (November): 368–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
True, Jacqui, and Mintrom, Michael. 2001. “Transnational Networks and Policy Diffusion: The Case of Gender Mainstreaming.” International Studies Quarterly 45 (March): 2757.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
UN General Assembly. 1999. Report of the Economic and Social Council for the Year 1997. 52d Session, Supplement no. 3, A/52/3/Rev. 1. United Nations, New York.Google Scholar
Vedder, Günther. 2005. “Denkanstösse zum Diversity Management” [Food for thought on diversity management]. Arbeit 14 (1): 3443.Google Scholar
von Braunmühl, Claudia. 2002. “Mainstreaming Gender—A Critical Revision.” In Common Ground or Mutual Exclusion: Women's Movements and International Relations, ed. Braig, Marianne and Wölte, Sonja. London: Zed, 5586.Google Scholar
Wildermuth, Cris, with Gray, Susan. 2005. Diversity Training. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.Google Scholar
Wöhl, Stefanie. 2007. Mainstreaming Gender? Widersprüche europäischer und nationalstaatlicher Geschlechterpolitik. Königstein/Taunus: Ulrike Heimer Verlag.Google Scholar
Women Matter: Gender Diversity, A Corporate Performance Driver. 2007. McKinsey & Company.Google Scholar
Woodward, Alison. 2003. “European Gender Mainstreaming: Promises and Pitfalls of Transformative Policy.” Review of Policy Research 20 (Spring): 6588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Diversity Management and Gender Mainstreaming as Technologies of Government
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Diversity Management and Gender Mainstreaming as Technologies of Government
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Diversity Management and Gender Mainstreaming as Technologies of Government
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *