Promoting transparency and accountability of government institutions is critical for effective implementation of gender equality commitments.

Governance systems frame the relationship between state and citizens, and as such, reflect societal power dynamics. They determine the parameters of citizen engagement and voice in the decisions that affect their lives which is linked to their access to services, resources, and demands for accountability. Most definitions of good governance do not make explicit reference to gender equality and the assumption is that governance systems are gender neutral. From a gender and human rights perspective, good governance should be measured by its contribution to advancing human rights principles and achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment.

With growing demands for fiscal transparency and open governments, there has been significant progress in making information on budget decision-making available and therefore promoting greater citizen-state accountability. However, there is still a need for more inclusive and meaningful participation, particularly when it comes to how public resources are allocated. Very often, government ministries are unable to monitor the adequacy of public spending in relation to gender equality.  Some of the reasons include the lack of 1) capacity to conduct gender analysis, 2) monitoring systems and 3) adequate sex disaggregated data.

UN Women supports countries to develop and implement tracking systems to assess allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment. These include initiatives to develop citizen score cards and social audits especially at the local level to increase the quantity and quality of basic services to women and girls.

FundHer: Donor ScoreCard

Tracking financial allocations and monitoring how and where they are spent is key to increase accountability in financing for gender equality. The Canadian CSO AWID (Association for Women's Rights in Development) partnered with the Instituto del Tercer Mundo/Social Watch, feminist economists, other women’s rights organizations and research institutions to develop an innovative scorecard, FundHer, to assess donor funding and to address the changing landscape in development cooperation.

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Key Resources

The missing link: Applied budget work as a tool to hold governments accountable for maternal...

This brief explores the relevance of civil society budget analysis and advocacy (i.e., budget work) and its potential as a tool to hold governments accountable for their maternal mortality reduction commitments. In doing so, it discusses three recent examples of civil society groups engaged with budget analysis and advocacy: Fundar, Center for Analysis and Research in Mexico; Women's Dignity in Tanzania; and the Center for Budget and Governance Accountability in India. The work of these...

Gender-Sensitive Local Auditing: Initiatives from India to Build Accountability to Women

This article from the World Bank Institute's Development Outreach Journal discusses the importance of citizen's efforts to audit directly the...

Women Moving Mountains

The publication analyzes the aggregate impact of women’s organizations around the world that received grants from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ MDG3 Fund. Including results from 78% of the grantees, this analysis demonstrates the huge reach and transformation that is possible when organizations working to build women’s collective power for change receive serious resources for an extended period of time, with flexibility to refine their strategies to adapt to shifting contexts.