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  • Author or Editor: Mieke Verloo x
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The aim of this article is to explore the ways in which gender equality is used in gender and politics research. We contend that the political and theoretical relevance of studying the multiple meanings of gender equality is enhanced by current crises. We discern four strategies used in gender and politics research: (1) escaping equality; (2) fixing equality; (3) deconstructing equality; or (4) delegating equality to political theory. This article is motivated by the belief that what is needed is not only more reflection on these choices, but also a productive dialogue between the different strategies.

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This article applies a political process approach to the analysis of pioneering Dutch efforts to develop and use gender impact assessment (GIA). Analysing the success and failure of the Dutch GIA, both at the level of structure (in terms of political opportunities, including discursive opportunities) and at the level of agency (in terms of mobilising networks and strategic framing), this article studies the construction, implementation and evaluation of the instrument over a 10-year period, contributing to a more theoretical understanding and to the further practical development of gender mainstreaming practices.

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New regulatory instruments such as benchmarking, ranking and best practices have given new meaning to the old politics of reputation and changed the standards by which performance is judged. In this article, we investigate the power-based mechanisms that operate between reputation, ranking, benchmarking and performance. Analysing two cases – gender equality policies at EU level and the fight against corruption at the global level – we show that there are valid reasons to doubt the contribution of ranking and benchmarking to improving policy making. The underlying political dynamics even result in adverse effects on performance in terms of legitimacy and effectiveness.

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