Feminist strategies that neglect or consistently deplore state action cannot accomplish what women need – because individuals need collectives such as states to solve collective action problems and to move toward more just social arrangements. Strategies that rely heavily on women's differences from men also cannot accomplish what women need – because women are like men in many ways relevant to individual and collective action. Despite these truths, social movements also need some strategies of action that work separately from and sometimes against the state. Moreover, strategies that accentuate the differences between oppressed and oppressing bring needed energy to a movement. The best overall strategy is, therefore, to realize that both states and difference theories are dangerous weapons, and proceed with caution.
Disadvantaged groups gain advantages from descriptive representation in at least four contexts. In contexts of group mistrust and uncrystallized interests, the better communication and experiential knowledge of descriptive representatives enhances their substantive representation of the group's interests by improving the quality of deliberation. In contexts of historical political subordination and low de facto legitimacy, descriptive representation helps create a social meaning of “ability to rule” and increases the attachment to the polity of members of the group. When the implementation of descriptive representation involves some costs in other values, paying those costs makes most sense in these specific historical contexts.