Interpreting Gender Mainstreaming by NGOs in India: A Comparative Ethnographic Approach


George, Glynis R. 2007. “Interpreting Gender Mainstreaming by NGOs in India: A Comparative Ethnographic Approach.” Gender, Place & Culture 14 (6): 679-701.

Author: Glynis R. George


This article examines the way gender mainstreaming is interpreted by specific non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India whose development initiatives draw upon particular ideologies of gender equality in their attempts to apply gender analysis. Its purpose is to locate and situate gender mainstreaming in the culturally specific contexts in which it is practiced to capture the complex realities in which gender policies are implemented and women are positioned to effect change. This is an important focus given that gender mainstreaming now pervades transnational governance and yet is informed by feminist analysis. Moreover, NGOs form key sites in which these policies are expected to be implemented. Of the critiques of gender mainstreaming which have emerged in the last 10 years, I examine how potentially conflicting models of gender inequality and equality take local expression and expand on the importance of framing in making gender mainstreaming meaningful by attending to indigenous interpretations of feminism and gender equality. The analysis I offer provides an ethnographic and comparative contribution to an understanding of gender mainstreaming as a contested site whose possibilities and limitations can be revealed by an attention to its feminist origins, namely a focus on context, process and identity formation.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gender Mainstreaming, Indigenous, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, NGOs Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2007

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