The politics of gender mainstreaming poverty reduction: an Indonesian case study

Susanne Schech, Mochamad Mustafa

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Critical feminist reviews of gender mainstreaming suggest a widespread disillusionment with gender and development. The literature has been dominated, however, by accounts of gender mainstreaming in international development institutions and in Western countries. There is a shortage of studies on how developing countries conceptualize, design and manage gender mainstreaming in development policies and programs in specific political and economic contexts. This paper focuses on Indonesia which made gender mainstreaming a national policy while battling the impacts of the Asian economic crisis and experiencing a political transition from authoritarianism to democracy. This strategic moment created some opportunities and challenges for government, NGO, and international gender and development advocates to integrate gender into the national poverty reduction policy. An analysis of the policy drafts and interviews with key players in the policy process shows that gender expertise, institutional capacity, organizational resistance, and leadership at the national level were important factors. Broader political concerns such as the diminished standing of World Bank and the IMF in post-crisis Indonesia also played a role in the long-winded policy process that produced the Indonesia's National Poverty Reduction Strategy. One important lesson drawn from this case study is the need to indigenize gender mainstreaming, by building gender analysis capabilities in national women's machineries and forging stronger links with national and local gender-concerned NGOs and research institutions. Secondly, translating gender-aware poverty reduction policies into gender-responsive action remains a great challenge not only in Indonesia but elsewhere due to paucity of relevant gender-disaggregated data.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)111-135
    Number of pages25
    JournalSocial Politics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


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