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Organizations change, they are restructured or amalgamated. As a result, the question of political strategies concerning the gender issue arises once again. Developed at an international, and in particular a European level, mainstreaming appears to be a promising strategy for emancipating women from their inferior status. Mainstreaming means focussing on gender relations within the context of previously male-centred ways of thinking, modes of organization and procedures. Depending on the results of analyses, concrete changes are planned, implemented and evaluated.
Is a policy of a balanced quota-based distribution of positions obsolete as a result of mainstreaming, or does it in fact provide the foundation for such a balance? How do these two strategies relate to programmes of positive action for women? An answer to these questions is sought in the emerging discourses on gender theory, while theories are analyzed as to whether they confirm the one or the other strategy. Gender-theoretical concepts are linked to the practice of pro-women policies, and the quality of different strategies assessed. It is the aim of this paper to demonstrate that mainstreaming does not simply replace quotas, normative definitions in connection with the gender issue or an autonomous space for women. Mainstreaming is, in fact, based on the experience that bringing about gender anti-discrimination is a far greater and more profound exercise than many want to believe.
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© Friedrich Ebert Stiftung | technical support | net edition fes-library | Dezember 2001