Introduction The global economic crisis has been linked with rising inequality by numerous authors (e.g. Treeck and Sturn, 2012). A number warn of the danger rising inequality poses to development (IMF-ILO, 2010; Rubery, 2013; Sheldon et al., 2009; UN Commission of Experts, 2009). These studies tend to ignore other forms of inequality, in particular unequal gender relations. In contrast, feminist scholars highlight the negative impact of gender inequality on development (Arestis, et al., 2013; Cobble, 2012; Page and Conley, 2010; Ridgeway, 2009). Under UN leadership, the world community has instituted several instruments – some of which are binding – urging nations to address women’s rights and gender inequality. The results have been mixed. While Ridgeway (2009) as well as Wright and Rogers (2011) celebrate the increasing presence of women in decision-making and critical areas of employment, Rubery (2013) laments the mismatch between achievements and investments. Fears of an emerging backlash that threatens limited gains are underscored by Britwum et al.’s (2012) conclusion that patriarchal norms continuously shape gender policy discourses and equality interventions.