Women's voice

Voice and Influence

The full and equitable inclusion of women in all stages of decision-making is critical for effective oversight and implementation of gender equality commitments. For women, meaningful inclusion requires capacity, open spaces to engage and influence policy dialogue, transparent and accessible information, and recourse mechanisms. These conditions are also necessary for the engagement of gender advocates in policy formulation and implementation. The active participation, voice and influence of gender advocates, civil society and national mechanisms on gender equality in decisions and policy-making ensures that services are more demand-driven and more effectively targeted and financed.

UN Women provides comprehensive support to women’s organizations, gender advocates and national women’s machinery to strengthen their essential role in national policy and planning processes. This includes technical support for their full engagement in formulating national policies and plans and in monitoring governments for effective implementation of gender equality priorities. UN Women also supports civil society organizations to develop social accountability and monitoring tools such as budget and expenditure tracking systems, which provide evidence for policy advocacy. These efforts have led to increased visibility of women’s voice and influence in decision-making and policy formulation at both national and local level. 

Women-led CSOs play a crucial role in gender responsive budgeting processes. The Association Fenomena (CSO) in Serbia led an initiative to demand better service delivery for women and girls in selected municipalities and towns. The CSO worked with eight women’s organisations from seven towns/municipalities to influence local budgets and plans in a wide range of sectors that affect women's lives. Analysis of municipal budgets was conducted to assess whether women and men benefitted equally from budget allocations.