This coming week at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris, governments and partners across sectors will come together to make concrete commitments to move the needle on gender equity and inclusion. The timing cannot be more vital, especially as the pandemic has unveiled the many systemic inequalities and services that are failing to meet women’s needs, hindering our collective ability to build back better and renew our societies.
For these pledges to succeed, Generation Equality commitments—guided by coalition blueprints—should be co-designed with the organizations and individuals most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and the long-standing gender gaps it has exacerbated. Commitments will need to be transparently and collaboratively implemented across sectors. And governments and partners should be held accountable for their stated objectives and intended milestones.
It is a herculean task, but that’s where the Open Government Partnership (OGP) can help.
Through OGP, governments and civil society organizations create and collaboratively implement key reforms to make governments more open, responsive, inclusive, and accountable to their people. Nearly 100 national and local governments will co-create action plans this year, which can be leveraged to include relevant Generation Equality commitments, increasing the transparency, ownership, and accountability of these pledges. Importantly, OGP offers independent monitoring and reporting on country progress well after the Generation Equality Forum concludes, extending the impact of this critical effort. As Megan has argued previously, it offers a promising model that actors focused on advancing global gender equality can emulate as they develop an independent accountability mechanism.
There are already exciting spaces of collaboration within the gender and open government communities. At the conclusion of Generation Equality Mexico City, Mexico’s Institute of Women (INMUJERES) committed to launching an initiative for an Alliance for Care Work in an effort to confront the care burden that impedes women’s economic opportunity. This is aligned with one of Mexico’s OGP commitments, which aims to create a pilot care policy that collects citizen feedback on the needs and gaps in service, and will ultimately inform a national domestic policy. It would be ideal to approach these two commitments as coordinated efforts.
Looking across the Generation Equality Action Coalitions, here are a few other ways OGP governments are advancing gender-informed commitments:
Reducing gender-based violence against women and LGBTQ+ communities through the co-creation of a new gender-based violence national plan in partnership with civil society organizations, academia, and government
Reducing gender-based violence by providing open data and information on implementation of sexual and gender-based violence roadmap with public monitoring
Economic justice and rights
South Africa, Kenya and Colombia
Implementing gender-sensitive public procurement and open contracting commitments
Collecting gender-disaggregated employment data to better understand where and how women engage in the workforce
Bodily autonomy & sexual and reproductive health and rights
Creating an online platform called #DÓNDE that details locations and services of local clinics and health centers to help close the gap in access to reproductive health services. This popular platform also provides feedback opportunities for citizens to report back on the quality of the services received at those centers.
Improving sexual and reproductive health access through the creation of a budget line item related to contraceptive products
Feminist action for climate justice
Colombia, Nigeria, and the Philippines
Integrating gender into Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) & natural resource commitments
Technology & innovation for gender equality
Improve the collection and publication of the State Statistics Service’s gender-disaggregated data
Feminist movements & leadership
Drafting a gender-integrated open parliament plan
Conducting regular monitoring on the status of women and men in leadership positions in the private and public sectors to inform a future equality law
Through Generation Equality and OGP action plans, governments can make joint commitments to increase women’s voice and access to legal services, health and education information, government contracts and financing, oversight on water and natural resource extraction, and safer civic spaces and convenings online. They can seek to improve the collection and publication of gender data across these areas, and create new avenues for participatory budgeting and policymaking in partnership with women and gender diverse communities. These are all areas where the objectives of open government and gender equality constituencies intersect, and therefore where a coordinated approach can strengthen the effectiveness of both agendas.
Leveraging their joint political will, funding, expertise, and networks of collaboration, the Generation Equality and OGP communities together can better accelerate meaningful action towards gender equality and reducing inequities.