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Further, Farther, Faster

Más Lejos, Más Rápido

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Break the Roles 2020

Allison Merchant|

On this International Women’s Day, we’re reflecting on what OGP has learned over the past year and where we hope to take inclusive open government in 2020. The good news: 2019 was a big year for gender in open government plans, co-creation processes, and conversations. In fact, gender is now the fastest-growing thematic area for 2019-2021 action plans. 

Just a year ago, OGP launched Break the Roles — a campaign to encourage open government actors to look beyond traditional roles and responsibilities and to be intentional, strategic, and ambitious in bringing women and gender diverse perspectives into open government. Through the campaign, governments were asked to consider a gender action they could take to make co-creation more inclusive and ensure commitments better reflect the priorities of those across the gender spectrum. Our goal was for 30% of our 98 members to take a concrete action, whether through commitments or by making their process more inclusive. I’m pleased to report that we hit our goal with 31% of members taking a gender action by the end of 2019. 

Open Heroines at the 2019 OGP Global Summit

What does that mean in practice? 2019 action plans included commitments on:

  • Collecting gender-disaggregated employment data in Argentina to better understand where and how women engage in the workforce
  • Creating a cross-governmental women’s empowerment plan in Afghanistan led by a new Presidential gender council  
  • Integrating gender into Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) & natural resource commitments in the Philippines and Nigeria 
  • Drafting a gender-integrated open parliament plan in Sierra Leone
  • Designing a beneficial ownership registry with gender-specific ownership data in Italy
  • Reducing gender-based violence against women and the LGBTQ+ and transgender communities in Ecuador through the co-creation of a new gender-based violence national plan

For 2019 action plans, we also saw new commitments bring a gender lens to core OGP themes and policy areas, such as:

  • Citizens shaping public services (nine commitments) 
  • Justice (seven commitments) 
  • Extractive Industries (three commitment) 
  • Environment and Climate (four commitments)
  • Open contracting (four commitments) 
  • Beneficial ownership (four commitments)

And there have been many firsts. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy, and the Philippines all made gender-related commitments for the first time in 2019. In countries like Sierra Leone, Argentina, Afghanistan, and Mexico, representatives from women’s organizations participated in the leadership of the national steering committee or multi-stakeholder groups.

Looking ahead, we’ll work in partnership with you to continue this momentum and make more ambitious, higher impact gender commitments a reality across action plans. We’re looking for key opportunities to mainstream gender into focus themes (see here in the 3YP). Gender – and inclusion more broadly – continues to be a considerable priority for the Support Unit and our current and future co-chairs. 

As we deepen this work in partnership with government and civil society partners, we’ll place disproportionate bets on a few key cross-cutting themes: natural resources governance, gender-based violence, justice, public procurement and economic opportunity, pay equity and salary transparency, inclusive public services and the Sustainable Development Goals. You’ll hear more about this work through the Feminist Open Government research published this spring, coalition member blogs and spotlights, and exciting partner projects funded by IDRC and the Multi-Donor Trust Fund.  

OGP will also explore the impact of gender and evolving technology, such as commitments on artificial intelligence, data-driven algorithms, and mass social networks, while encouraging partners to consider threats like disinformation, discrimination, and privacy concerns. As digital governance reforms increase in OGP action plans, care must be taken to ensure gender is mainstreamed into these discussions so as to not perpetuate inequalities and discriminatory inputs to policy.

The year ahead includes important opportunities to meaningfully advance gender within focus countries and thematic areas, especially with so many of our government and civil society partners participating in global moments like Beijing 25+ and the Generation Equality Forums in Mexico City, Paris, and New York. There, governments will make significant commitments to closing gender gaps. Open government solutions should be front and center in those conversations, embedding these pledges in OGP action plans so that they can be supported, transparently implemented, and independently assessed by OGP’s accountability mechanism, the Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM).

To the open government community: thank you for taking the call to action to heart and seeking new ways to ensure government serves a more inclusive group of citizens in your country, state, or city. We know it will take time and collective action to narrow persistent gender gaps in corruption, public procurement, justice, and civic space, and we are grateful for your partnership in the year to come. There is no question that together we will go further, farther, and faster. 

Comments (1)

Majo Montiel Reply

It will be very useful to collect more information about the development an cocreation commitments which include sensitive gender indicators and a gender approach in order to acquire more information to inspire new commitments.

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