This thematic section seeks to contribute to emerging research on gender and policy that combines post-adoption and ideational approaches to address how and why ideas matter in gender equality policy implementation. In this article, the two research streams are first discussed. Next, the potential ingredients for gender transformation from current research are presented and then examined in the cases of post-adoption in Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, France and the Council of Europe in the four contributions to the thematic section. The concluding comparative assessment confirms what research has already found: the interplay between actors, ideas and institutions is crucial. Who comes forward and the ideas and political meanings those actors advance are what ultimately matter, dictated in certain policy sectors by the institutional micro-foundations of that domain. The article ends with the lessons learned from, and next steps that come out of, this thematic section.
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