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Faces of Open Government: Diana Rodríguez Franco

Rostros del Gobierno Abierto: Diana Rodríguez Franco

Meet Diana Rodriguez Franco, the Secretary of Women’s Affairs in Bogota, Colombia. To commemorate International Women’s Day, Diana shared what her team is doing to close the gender gap in the city and make the local government of Bogota open, inclusive, and participatory. 


Hello! To start us off, tell us about yourself and what you’re looking forward to this year.

I am Diana Rodríguez Franco, Bogota’s Secretary of Women’s Affairs. In 2020, I made a commitment to the city and to the administration of Mayor Claudia López to create the first Care System at the city level in Latin America to strengthen programs that address gender-based violence, to mainstream gender in all local government entities, and to help break down barriers to offer more, and better opportunities to all the women of Bogota. 

 This year, my goal is to consolidate the legacy of our progress to make Bogota a better city for women. I hope that more women will be able to learn and access over 30 services we created and strengthened in this administration for them and that we will leave a clear path for the next local administration to build on.

Imagine that you are sitting next to your younger self. What would you say to them? What words of wisdom would you say to a young person interested in open government?

My advice for all young people interested in open government would be to participate! Get involved from an early age,it is never too soon! I would also tell them to get out there and try multiple disciplines! Governments need a more transdisciplinary approach: we need biologists, chemists, musicians, artists! We need young people from all areas of knowledge to get out there and work with open governments. Governments need citizen participation, especially through existing mechanisms. 

 In Bogotá, for example, the Secretariat of Women’s Affairs is in direct and permanent communication with the city’s Women’s Advisory Council. On a monthly basis, I attend their meetings, where we have a constant exercise of trust and feedback, which has been key for the co-creation and strengthening of the city policies we have implemented. It was the Women’s Advisory Council who presented the bill to institutionalize the Care System, which we created and implemented in this administration, for it to become a city law. I wish more young women were encouraged to take part in these type of mechanisms, which are decisive for the construction of truly open governments. That is why our actions in terms of parity have focused on encouraging and training more young women to exercise their leadership and voices.


In your own words, what is gender parity? How can it be effectively applied in open government and in the decision-making process? 

Gender parity implies ensuring the participation of women at all levels and decision-making spaces in political and public life. The world is made up of men and women; in fact, there are more women than men in the world. Therefore, it is necessary that all spaces of participation and public and private decision-making incorporate the voices and visions of both men and women.

 Historically, women have not had the same participation as men at the different levels of political and public decision-making. This has resulted, for example, in cities that have not incorporated a gender perspective in their urban planning. Today, women in Bogotá spend more time on public transportation than men and face different problems in terms of safety in public spaces. 

Open governments should seek to guarantee gender parity by taking concrete actions to ensure that the bodies and mechanisms for participation and political control have sufficient representation of women. But not only this, governments must also ensure that women who reach these instances have all the tools they need to fulfill their functions, recognizing that historically they have not had the same cultural imaginaries of empowerment to participate in politics, nor the same opportunities for training and participation in public affairs.

Tell us about the  Bogota 50/50 strategy. What does it set out to do for citizen participation and for the interests of women?

Our Bogotá 50/50 strategy is a comprehensive commitment to achieve political equality for women and men in the medium and long term. The gender gaps in access to public power are still very deep, which imposes on us as a government the responsibility to design strategies to eliminate the obstacles women face in exercising their leadership.


Bogota 50/50 is composed of six actions that I would like to summarize: 

  1.  Launching the “Political Clinic” Lidera – Par.h This is a permanent political training process that designs contents and methodologies for the qualification of leadership and political empowerment of women, and which, as a particular element, implements tutorials so that the participants can carry out concrete actions to improve their incidence.
  2.  Promoting parity as a democratic principle within citizen participation bodies. Here we carry out sensitization processes to question the role historically assigned to women, which has excluded them from political power and decision-making scenarios.
  3. Accompanying women councilors in the localities of Bogota to form women’s caucuses within the local corporations. , This not only makes the collective political action of women more visible but also advances women’s rights in relevant political scenarios of the territories in the district.
  4. Creating the District Multiparty Gender Roundtable. This convenes political parties to jointly build commitments and, above all, actions to improve women’s participation within their organizations so that more women occupy leadership positions in the parties, more women are candidates, and women’s rights are included as socially relevant agenda items in their platforms and programmatic commitments.
  5. Supporting women to organize citizen oversight groups to monitor the use of public resources in projects related to women’s rights.
  6. Offering technical and organizational assistance so that women can influence participatory budgeting processes and local resources with specific projects to guarantee women’s rights.


Why is it important for other countries to recognize gender barriers for citizens? What can other institutions do to develop strategies to combat them?

Gender barriers are present in all countries of the world, despite the fact that in some places they are deeper and in others, efforts and decisions have been made that have managed to reduce them with great difficulty. The important thing to recognize the problems, in this case to recognize that we have not achieved equal opportunities between men and women, is that we can build a path to achieve this equality that represents neither more nor less, the guarantee of women’s rights . Not being aware of reality prevents us from building effective solutions.

Regarding the role of other institutions, in this case other than the Bogotá Women’s Affairs Secretariat, the first thing is to assume an institutional and structural commitment to women’s rights. Sometimes we think that the fight for women’s equality is an exclusive agenda of the women themselves or entities in the women’s sector. The truth is that if the institutions do not take charge of these issues, they are ignoring the needs of a little more than half of the population. All the issues that are addressed by the State must have a look that makes it possible to show how women are pushed positively or negatively with decisions, how the real democratization of socially relevant agendas is fostered, how the needs, expectations, and interests of women are an essential part of public decisions and policies.

Comments (2)

Gladys Estela Riveros Rojas Reply

Bogotá 50/50, es un nombre muy acertado, porque así debería ser igualdad entre hombre y mujer, como así también es importante reconocer el problema para poder subsanarlo. Además de la participación de la ciudadanía y transparencia del Estado.
Sugerencia a mi criterio, en este orden: 1 Creación de la Mesa Distrital Multipartidista de Género; 2 Acompañamiento a las concejalas de las localidades de Bogotá; 3 Lanzamiento de la “Clínica Política”; 4 Apoyar a las mujeres en la organización de veedurías ciudadanas; 5 Promover la paridad como principio democrático; 6 Ofrecer asistencia técnica y organizativa para que las mujeres.

Mudassar Hameed Reply

Thanks for sharing this informative article. Join us to get the latest update of world current affairs.

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