International Handbooks on Gender series
Edited by Jill Steans and Daniela Tepe
Feminist movements have made gender relations, long taken for granted as an unspoken organizing principle of societies, into a political issue, and with the rise of multilateralism at the end of the twentieth century they catapulted the debate about gender into the realm of international politics. Here, gender relations have become a topic of international governance: feminists have made claims towards being, and have been, integrated into international institutions in various ways; gender has become the object of international law, programmes, and projects; and international governance mechanisms are now in place seeking to influence the organization of gender relations around the world.In this chapter we provide an overview of the ways gender has become an issue in international institutions and the ways it now operates in international governance. We first explore the history of efforts to get gender on the agenda of international institutions, together with the critique of such efforts. Next, we describe strategies geared towards changing gender relations in international institutions, in particular legal strategies and gender mainstreaming, and discuss the controversies around these strategies. Then we unravel strands of contemporary efforts to measure the impacts international engagements and strategies have on gender relations around the world. The history of feminist activism in the League of Nations is only beginning to be written, but such activism was significant.
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