Open Government Partnership: Toolkit for More Gender-Responsive Action Plans
Gender equality matters for both the legitimacy and the effectiveness of the Open Government Partnership (OGP). All citizens have a right to participate in the public life of their society, but different groups of citizens face different barriers to doing so. Women, non-binary individuals, and LGBTQIA+ actors historically faced systematic exclusion from public decision-making processes and continue to be widely under-represented across the world. Further, women, non-binary individuals, and LGBTQIA+ actors often have different needs and experiences of government and public services, and therefore may prioritize different things from their governments and service providers. Intersectionalities across gender, sexual identity, age, race, ethnicity, ability, location, and access can further discrimination and limit voice and access to vital services.
However, the important priorities and needs of these communities are often poorly understood and under-supported. Diverse, substantive participation in governance processes like OGP and its action plan co-creation processes strengthens both the legitimacy and effectiveness of these mechanisms, truly broadening the base of participation.
Civil society organizations (CSOs) that work across gender equality and equity issues are an important democratic mechanism for aggregating, representing, and applying pressure to secure the interests of women, non-binary individuals, and LGBTQIA+ actors. OGP coordination bodies need to actively facilitate a range of these CSOs and social movement actors to participate in the co-creation of OGP action plans, if it is to harness the ideas and expertise of diverse citizens, and be relevant to their needs and priorities.
The Feminist Open Government (FOGO) Initiative was created to generate research, data, and practical tools to support OGP members in better using OGP as a mechanism to advance gender equality. This Gender Toolkit was produced based on several pieces of research that started under the FOGO Initiative and has continued within OGP’s broader gender and inclusion efforts.
The use of the tools can be facilitated by an OGP government or civil society stakeholder, a third-party facilitator, or a resource person with gender expertise. A third-party facilitator may be best able to explain concepts to participants, ask probing questions to prompt deeper thinking, moderate the discussion to surface different points of view, and facilitate consensus around actions to be taken after the tools are used.
Note that this toolkit will reference women, girls, non-binary individuals, and LGBTQIA+ actors as specific stakeholders to engage and consult throughout co-creation and implementation. This will also appear as “gender equality actors” for shorthand. These categories are not comprehensive, and there are overlapping identities and intersectionalities within and across these groups that greatly impact voice, agency, and access. None of these groups are a monolith, and diverse consultation is needed across identities and experience to better ensure open government approaches serve a diversity of citizens.