The Elephant in the Room and Dragon at the Gate: Strategizing Gender Equality in the 21st Century
Authors: Joanne Sandler and Aruna Rao
The ominous vision of elephants and dragons in the title of this article represents the perplexing equation of progress and backlash that characterises work on gender equality and women’s rights. This article advocates a move away from the ongoing debates about gender mainstreaming, towards re-framing strategies for ending gender discrimina- tion. Synthesising the analysis and priorities for action shared by 40 gender and development activists and practitioners participating in an eight-day electronic discussion on gender and organisational change sponsored by Gender at Work, the article identifies three strategies for social transformation that are central to enabling feminists to seize emerging opportunities and avert emerging threats. We argue that the current debates on whether to hold a Fifth World Conference on Women in 2015 present an important opportunity to catalyse a global reflection on which strategies are no longer relevant and which approaches will infuse women’s networks and movements with the vitality and vibrancy required to meet the challenges of the 21st century.