Within the growing body of literature on gender mainstreaming, intense and vivid discussions on an assumed loss of transformative potential and a feminist, revolutionary promise of change exist. Our analysis uses a paradigm shift in thinking on power and social relations, for analysing conceptualisations of both gender and change. We point to the necessity of rethinking this revolutionary feminist promise and its underlying subject theory. In breaking away from a utopian vision of change, we argue that gender mainstreaming can be considered part of what we will label a slow revolution. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.