Published: January 2016
Author(s): Paul Chaney

This article presents critical discourse analysis of state and civil society organisations’ efforts to implement the gender mainstreaming goals set out in the United Nations’ Beijing Declaration. It is argued that the latter represents a generational opportunity to apply a Feminist Political Economic Framework to development in Africa. However, the research findings show how current practice falls short of the sought-after participative democratic model of mainstreaming. Instead, analysis reveals significant differences in state and civil society organisations’ policy framing, issues over conceptual clarity and a disjuncture in state and civil society prioritisation of key gendered issues such as poverty, economic inequality and conflict resolution. This matters because it indicates that the capacity of the civil sphere to act as a political arena from which NGOs may challenge the traditionally male-dominated power structures is being undermined by a ‘disconnect’ between state and civil society as they pursue contrasting agendas.