Gender mainstreaming is a strategy toward realizing gender equality that involves the integration of a gendered perspective into every stage (design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation), sector (research, finance, civic engagement), and level (grassroots, national, regional, global) of the policy-making process. Gender mainstreaming also seeks to examine the implications of policies, programs, and processes on women, girls, men, boys and development at large. A feminist accountability framework is an approach to local and global governing that employs the principles of gender-mainstreaming and enacts a system in which governments are held accountable for the perpetuation of gender-based inequality.
A Feminist Accountability Framework and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an action plan comprised of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that seeks to eradicate poverty by 2030. The Agenda itself is feminist in the sense that it provides States with key tools to implement feminist development initiatives and the ultimate goal of the Agenda seeks to achieve gender equality across all domains in every country. In particular, SDG 5 is to improve gender equality and to empower all women and girls; however, States must decipher and implement the Agenda as an interdependent and interconnected action plan if gender equality is to be fully realized.
The implementation of a feminist accountability framework is fundamental to ensuring that governments keep gender equality central in policy-making and SDG implementation.
The implementation of a feminist accountability framework is fundamental to ensuring that governments keep gender equality central in policy-making and SDG implementation. Employing a feminist accountability framework would directly benefit everyone, not just women and girls. Furthermore, one of the guiding principles of the 2030 Agenda is “leave no one behind” ; not only is this guiding principle morally sound, but it is also practical. Sustainable and successful development can never be achieved if certain SDGs are isolated or given priority over others. The SDGs are and were designed to be interdependent, interrelated, and interconnected. The utilization of a feminist accountability framework would aid in the ideological unification of nations and regions, and make research, policies, and interventions more relevant, effective, and aligned with the transformative vision of the 2030 Agenda.
Recommendations for Employing a Feminist Accountability Framework
Although adopting a Feminist Accountability Framework often requires a systematic reconfiguration of government departments and institutions, there are several concrete steps that can be more readily employed:
- Create clear action plans that take into account context and the use of concrete tools and measures, such as a gender checklist when creating, implementing, and monitoring policies.
- Enact a framework for gender-responsive budgeting. This approach to budgeting is more than simply setting aside a small fund for girls and women; it’s a systematic approach to identifying gender priorities within each category of expenditures.
- Elect a committee to measure progress toward gender equality in SDG implementation.
- Advocate and work towards setting a standard for gender equality at the local, national, regional, and global level.
- Increase visibility and demand consistency with the prioritization of the human rights of women and girls.
- Create and increase access to platforms for civil society, women, and girls to engage with policy makers.
- Eliminate gaps in data, increase the representation of women and girls in disaggregated data, and increase accessibility to data within and amongst nations.
It is not enough to merely pledge to gender equality; steps must be taken and structures must be put in place to ensure that gender equality is a fundamental component of every political process, institution, and outcome. Political commitment from member states is paramount and directly correlated with the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. A feminist accountability framework can help prevent governments from leaving half of the population behind.