By the mid 1990s, most western states, responding to the challenge of women's movements, had developed 'state feminism': institutions and policy measures to achieve gender equality. These developments have since been challenged by major political changes over the last decade, such as the increasing importance of the European Union and the United Nations, regionalization and decentralization, reforms of the welfare state and government and the introduction of gender mainstreaming. Women's policy institutions were also confronted with increasing diversity amongst women and amongst women's movements. This book analyses how these institutions in twelve western democracies have responded to the changes: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United States. Were they able to maintain or enhance their roles or were they downsized? What was their relationship with women's movements groups? And why did some fare well and others lose out over the last decade?

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