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Project

A feminist approach to open government: investing in gender equality to drive sustainable development
 

Burkina Faso
Costa Rica
Ghana
Indonesia
Ivory Coast
Jordan
Kenya
Mexico
Philippines
Senegal
South Africa
South America
Tunisia
Project ID
108807
Total Funding
CAD 2,535,704.00
IDRC Officer
Katie Clancy
Project Status
Completed
End Date
Duration
24 months

Lead institution(s)

Project leader:
Alessandro Bellantoni
France

Project leader:
Laura Neuman
United States

Summary

Governments around the world have made commitments to be more open, to ensure greater transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies that strengthen governance.Read more

Governments around the world have made commitments to be more open, to ensure greater transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption and harness new technologies that strengthen governance. The Open Government Partnership (OGP), an initiative that has grown to include 75 national governments and 15 subnational ones, is responsible for supporting government efforts to be more open and accountable to their citizens. Since the OGP was founded in 2011, more than 2,500 commitments have been co-created with governments and civil society towards more transparency, participation, and accountability.

Despite these successes, recent assessments point to challenges in the fledgling open government movement. Critics have suggested that by treating the public as a common group, open government lacks responsiveness to socio-economic dimensions of inclusion, particularly gender. Current open government practices limit the ability of women and other marginalized groups to fully participate at all levels. For instance, a minority of women participate in OGP national committees, and research has shown that women in Guatemala and Liberia, for example, face a number of barriers accessing government information at the local level as compared to men. Access to information is a fundamental underpinning of the open government movement, one that, for example, indigenous women in Chiapas have used to demand and leverage improved healthcare delivery.

The movement risks stagnation and eventual decline if it is perceived to be an elite, male-dominated agenda that ignores the real challenges facing women and girls in engaging in transparency and accountability in their communities and countries. Continued progress will only be possible by addressing power asymmetries head on and ensuring that open government reforms ultimately benefit all dimensions of a community, including women and girls.

This initiative — called Feminist Open Government (FOGO) — focusses on making open government more inclusive by improving design and implementing gender-responsive approaches. OGP member countries will be mobilized to develop and implement gender-responsive OGP commitments. Finally, the project will identify constraints and suggest solutions towards fuller participation of women and girls in open government.

FOGO will be a flagship initiative of Canada’s co-chairmanship of the OGP, which runs from October 2017 to October 2019. It will leverage a unique and catalytic moment to transform OGP, and the open government movement more generally, into a truly gender-centric engine of empowerment.

Research outputs

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Brief
Language:

English

Summary

Open government for whom? This synthesis paper provides core analysis, findings and recommendations from research on open government in 12 countries across Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Feminist Open Government (FOGO) findings show that women tend to be under-represented and not deliberately engaged within programming objectives. Open government co-creation tends to privilege key urban centres. Even when rural or broad geographic consultations occur, advocates suggest their perspectives and needs are not reflected in government plans. Economic empowerment, political leadership, violence against women – these still remain largely absent from national action plan discussions.

Author(s)
Fumega, Silvana
Report
Language:

English

Summary

The Feminist Open Government Initiative (FOGO) oversaw 5 research projects covering 11 open government partnership (OGP) governments, reviewed multiple OGP action plans, forged new partnerships with key groups like Women Deliver and UNDP, launched a new campaign through Break the Roles, and grew a coalition of more than 20 governments and partners committed to driving this work forward. The report provides details of projects, research, accomplishments, outputs, links to project research and publications, as well as recommendations. FOGO works to broaden the base of open government support by investing in research from partners in the global south, alongside coalition-building efforts to rally reform.

Author(s)
Merchant, Allison
Report
Language:

English

Summary

The report reviews evidence of the impact of open government to determine whether openness leads to better socio-economic outcomes. Research conducted as part of this report on the long-term impact of free association, free and independent media, and government engagement with citizens (referred to as “diagonal accountability”) finds that these factors are also associated with improved socio-economic outcomes, including life expectancy, years of education, economic growth, reduced infant mortality, and less inequality. This report covers the second objective of the program proposal, the Global Report of the Open Government Partnership (OGP).

Author(s)
Foti, Joseph
Book
Language:

English

Summary

This volume reports on the world’s governance data, across multiple dimensions of democracy and openness. Reflecting a database of dozens of indicators from third-party sources across five policy dimensions (civic space, anti-corruption initiatives, open policy-making, access to information, and fiscal openness) this report compares 42 countries that have been in Open Government Partnership (OGP) for more than five years to non-OGP countries. Seventy-nine countries and a growing number of local governments, representing more than two billion people have joined the OGP to join forces, commit to reforms to open up government, and together ensure that public institutions work for citizens.

Author(s)
Foti, Joseph
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