Transparency and Accountability

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.

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.