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Understanding Policy Diffusion across Feminist Social Movements: The Case of Gender Mainstreaming in Eastern Germany

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 November 2008

Katja M. Guenther
University of California, Riverside


Gender mainstreaming emerged on the European policy scene in the mid-1990s as an innovative and controversial policy tool for reducing gender inequalities. The European Union seeks to propagate the practice of gender mainstreaming both within EU institutions and among member states. Feminist scholars and policy elites have discussed and debated gender mainstreaming widely but have yet to consider how local feminist activists, who could play a central role in diffusing gender mainstreaming, understand, interpret, and respond to this agenda. This article examines whether and why local feminist movements in two cities in eastern Germany adopt gender mainstreaming into their advocacy agendas. Consideration of the characteristics of the contexts in which local feminist movements are embedded clarifies the conditions under which social movements rally around new policy paradigms.

Research Article
Copyright © The Women and Politics Research Section of the American Political Science Association 2008

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