Since International Women’s Year in 1975, the existence of governmental machinery for promoting gender equality has become a marker of good governance across the world. By 2004, the role of specialised parliamentary bodies in promoting gender equality was gaining increased recognition and from 2006 they have become the subject of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) data collection. Three main types have been identified, which can vary considerably in terms of formal status and functions. These are dedicated and multipurpose standing committees, single-party and cross-party caucuses and issue-based parliamentary groups. This chapter provides an overview of emerging scholarship on gender-focused parliamentary bodies (GFPBs), including their origins, diffusion and role in gender mainstreaming. The effectiveness of such bodies is considered, including roles in the legislative process, executive accountability, empowerment of women parliamentarians and provision of legislative access for diverse groups of women. Lastly come reflections on sustainability of this relatively new form of feminist governance.
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