Gender equality has become an issue in the labour market regulation debate. Now that evidence suggests that regulation is not always a barrier to good employment performance, recent contributions have focused on its impact in exacerbating within-workforce inequalities, including gender inequality. This article reveals that the evidence supporting this proposition is thin and inconclusive and questions the search for a cross national relationship between regulations and gender. This approach leaves out of consideration the differences in institutional interactions in specific national contexts and the differences in the institution of gender across time and space. This critique is developed through more detailed and context specific analyses of interactions between gender and six areas of labour market regulation. The article concludes by arguing that simply introducing a general gender variable into non gendered analyses of labour markets misleads more than informs and distracts from the development of regulations to promote gender equality. Copyright The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Cambridge Political Economy Society. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.