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Consultation on Feminist Open Government Research: What We Heard

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Thanks for all those who joined us at the Consultation on Feminist Open Government Research (Open Gov Week)!

Brief summary

Next Steps:

The consultation was held on May 9, 2018, and moderated by Portia Taylor of the Government of Canada and Mor Rubinstein of Open Heroines, began by setting expectations:

  • Share the context and background of Gender Equality in the OGP
  • Define our current framing of Feminist Open Government and planned activities
  • Listen to your priorities and ideas to shape better inclusion, future research and activities

This consultation is the first in a series of planned in-person and online consultations seeking engagement and feedback on how to advance a feminist open government agenda. The objectives of the day were to start gathering input on a common definition of feminist open government and to seek input on ensuring processes seek to be as inclusive and accessible as possible. To do so, we provided some background,and focused on four questions to start the dialogue.

  • Stephanie Bluma provided a quick introduction to the Open Government Partnership’s Gender Strategy, emphasizing the need for ensuring inclusive co-creation process and commitments around gender, as well as capacity building more broadly. It is under this umbrella of work that the Feminist Open Government project exists.
  • Silvana Fumega shared information on her ongoing work to use data to combat femicides in Latin America, examining OGP processes in Latin America to better understand how those practices engage women, and if they do engage or not.
  • We heard key work that has been going on in the MENA region with Access to Knowledge for Development (A2K4D), including online seminars to share case studies, gender research methodology calls to further expand on work in this space.
  • Nany, on behalf of Open Heroines and herself, gave her perspectives on moving forward a feminist open government initiative, moving beyond research, and the challenge of working collaboratively together and building new models and ways of working that can be replicated in the future.
  • Laura Neuman shared information on women and the right of access to information “Inform Women, Transform Lives.” and the resulting Atlanta Declaration for the Advancement of Women’s Right of Access to Information, and shared that obstacles need to be considered when researching governance.
  • Katie Clancy quickly provided some of the dates and planned work on the Feminist Open Government Initiative.
  • Nathaniel Heller shared insights about upcoming priorities and his support for more gender equality in Open Government as upcoming co-chair.

What we heard

Based on our working definition of feminist open government, how would you change it (if at all)?


The following data is direct from the Sli.do inputs we recieved, and does not identify the contributors. It has been transcribed, but not edited in any other way. This data is being provided to showcase what we heard, and we will reference how it has informed future outputs.


What would it look like in practice to have feminist government (procedures, policies, legal frameworks?) 

  • A focus on social justice
  • govt needs to start with recognizing its own dominant information culture which is usually monolingual, tech driven and not open
  • Policies, such as Gender based analysis plus, are really important, but stronger in legal framework
  • Unpaid labour (inc. care) is incorporated into all key decision-driving metrics (e.g. GDP, productivity)
  • identify champions to support strategies and goals
  • Fairness + courtesy over tradition + customs
  • it would recognize the informal safe spaces for women in addition to creating quotas for their participation in existing formal male dominated spaces
  • A bigger focus on care?
  • +parity at the top level of decision making + a power structure that does not undermine women and is inclusive + a feminist gov that takes into consideration and responds to the unique needs that women have based on the gender roles or biology and that promotes equal participation in care giving and other tasks that are traditionally assigned to women + a gov that published disaggregated data and implements policies that analyzes how they have a differentiated impact in women and men
  • Strong legislative/legal framework must be a requisite for a gov to be able to call itself feminist
  • Inclusive processes and policies for people who act as primary caregivers.
  • Disaggregated data on a variety of issues
  • More fair representation of women, lgbtqi+ and men in government.
  • identify “success factors” , develop metrics to measure success, as part of procedures and practices

What can governments and civil society do to drive more feminist (open) governance? 

  • Zero tolerance to harassment and abuse of women in government and civil society spaces
  • i think meaningful means not just providing the space etc, but that voice and participation receive *uptake*
  • Child care and family friendly policies
  • Funding in travel + accomodation + per diem + compensation (if any) for a more fair representation of women and lgbtqi+ in international conference from Global South i.e. OGP and IODC.
  • Meaningful means providing positive space, voice, and the information necessary to fully engage
  • Create opportunities for feminists and open data/gov folks to get together and exchange
  • + Make OGP attractive to women’s groups so that they contribute to the agenda. + Organize summits and events that target women and are organized structurally to support women’s participation
  • + Create an enabling environment that is safe and rewarding for women to participate
  • + Make it relevant to women’s daily lives
  • seek out and explicitly include/invite participants
  • Create mentorship scheme for young female leaders in government and civil society
  • Rigorous follow-up feedback and capacity building initiatives between governments, civil societies and intermediaries.
  • funding to support participation, attendance.
  • Start by better understanding the obstacles to women’s full and meaningful engagement/participation. Then work together to identify potential solutions
  • More control over resources via gender budgeting
  • Governments can fund civil society to think and work on this
  • Face to face consultations, communications directed at women

Looking ahead to the future priorities of Feminist Open Government , how do we ensure the best possible participation?

  • Breaking down OGov commitments into real-life hacks, not just fancy words or wishes: what will improve, where and how.
  • To find feminist organizations, can inquire with each gov’s Women’s Dept. If you don’t have a Women’s Dept., maybe ask UN Women.
  • Translate complex data into easy to use information that everyone can understand to challenge gender stereotypes or highlight inequality
  • Prioritize offline engagement more please to overcome digital divide. Meaningful engagement happens more offline engagement.
  • Include feminist organizations that don’t yet work on open It would be naturally interesting to them, especially organizations doing advocacy. Would be natural allies of open movement.
  • Identify champions within the communities targeted, including men and traditional leaders
  • use free and easy-to-use online portals
  • It may be controversial, but I think we should mandate national action plans to include at least one gendersensitive/ transformative commitment. That would encourage more participation from women’s organizations
  • Seek out new groups deliberately
  • Tackle digital divide 🙂
  • Wide and communications plan to engage as many people as possible



What’s next:

As a key priority of the OGP chairmanship of the Government of Canada  and its civil society co-chair counterpart (Nathaniel Heller of Results for Development) – which will start in September 2018 – FOGO will aim to carry out research and build evidence to drive better gender commitments and action research to improve open government. In the first phase, The Open Data for Development’s network of hubs are consulting and scoping in OGP countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Later, an additional open research call will seek to recruit women’s groups and research organizations from around the world to carry out new work exploring the nexus of gender, Open Government, and sustainable development outcomes with funding from the International Development Research Centre and Global Affairs Canada.

Some of the next steps in our design phase are:

  • Thanks to everyone who made the time to join us in this very constructive conversation. These very useful inputs will help shape and guide more than just research, but dialogues on how to make new commitments, priority areas for investments.
    • Your feedback informs decisions about the design and priorities for Feminist Open Government
    • Future consultations in person and online to delve into more specific topics and areas such as methodology and research areas
    • Open research process helps you find findings as they emerge