Gender mainstreaming and intersectionality are both approaches to forwarding gender equality. Gender mainstreaming is the strategy used to implement gender and development thinking. lntersectionality is an approach to understanding the relationship between gender, race and other aspects of identity that are sources of systematic discrimination. The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) definition is used throughout the United Nations (UN) system and by its agencies, and is widely accepted by other multilateral and bilateral development organisations and NGOs. This definition is a compromise between a number of different perspectives and agendas. The result is inherent tensions and paradoxes that make gender mainstreaming simultaneously potentially transforming and potentially problematic. Nonetheless, mainstreaming remains widely accepted as the means to pursue gender equality. The first part of this paper is focused on gender mainstreaming. lntersectionality is an approach to understanding the differences among women and among men and the ways that these differences interact to exacerbate arginalisation. It identifies subordination not solely as an issue of gender or race or class inequalities, but as a location where there are often simultaneous and compounding relationships of subordination. lntersectionality offers potential as a framework for contextual analysis that may improve development outcomes for women by ensuring that particular groups of women are not excluded in policy and practice. This is explored further in the second part of this paper.