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Gender Mainstreaming Strategy for Citizen Participation

Country

Spain

Organization

Government of Catalonia

Initial date

06-05-2020

Final date

31-05-2020

Type of experience

diagonisis space/workshop...

SDGs

SDG 5 SDG 11

Award

14th. Special Mention

Objectives

Strategic:

  • To improve quantitatively and qualitatively the democratic participation of women.

  • To incorporate the gender perspective in the design of public policies.

Operative:

  • Design and develop a gender mainstreaming strategy in the Directorate General for Citizen Participation to apply a gender perspective in all its activity.

  • To mainstream gender in the new framework of outsourcing agreements.

  • To incorporate the gender perspective in the design and development of new participation instruments as well as in the operation of those already deployed, prioritising deliberative processes and citizen councils.

  • To adjust and/or redefine the indicators for the evaluation of the participation instruments as well as the impact assessment of the actions carried out.

  • To communicate and report with an intersectional approach, including transparency and open data policies.

 

How have you achieved this objective?

  • The team of the Directorate General for Citizen Participation has been trained in gender mainstreaming for participation.

  • The public procurement framework for the provision of services for the design, promotion and assessment of citizen participation processes was evaluated. The recommendations of the evaluation were incorporated into the Framework Agreement for the procurement of companies and entities that carry out assessment and promotion of participation processes (soon to be approved).

  • Two deliberative processes (face-to-face sessions) were evaluated and proposals for improvement were made, which have been incorporated into the protocol for energising these processes.

  • The protocol for the design and dynamisation of citizen councils was evaluated and proposals for improvement were made and incorporated into the protocol for the dynamisation of these processes.

  • The information and communication protocol with citizens for and during participation processes was evaluated and proposals for improvement were made and incorporated into the information and communication protocol.

  • The evaluation questionnaire of the deliberative processes - the form that citizens who participate in a face-to-face session answer - was evaluated, as well as the type of data that was collected about the session. Proposals for improvement were made and incorporated into the new version of the questionnaire as well as into the database that collects all the evaluations and publishes them in open data.

  • A preliminary analysis of these open data was carried out in order to diagnose the state of the art in gender mainstreaming in participatory processes, especially the face-to-face discussion sessions.

  • A Guide to Gender Mainstreaming in Citizen Participation Processes will be published (delayed due to the coronavirus crisis).

 

 

To what extent has this objective been achieved?

We consider that the objective of the project has been achieved in its entirety.

This allows us to tackle, in the coming months, another project related to the impact of the changes introduced in the contracts, training, protocols and data collection on gender mainstreaming.

 

Participants

How has the experience been coordinated with other actors and processes?

The experience began with an open debate on Twitter for the collection of materials dealing with this issue (reports, protocols, academic articles, etc.), in the period December 2017 - January 2018.

At the same time, the need to create this project (consisting of analysis, improvement of internal procedures and publication of the guide) was discussed with the Catalan Women's Institute of the Government of Catalonia, the body dependent on the Catalan government for the promotion of gender equality policies.

Aware of the void in the sector of citizen participation, as well as the need to develop the field, a call was made for a consultancy on the issue which was attended by six civil society organisations specialised in gender.

From May 2019 to December 2019, several meetings were held with people of different responsibilities within the Administration, collaborating companies, data processing and documentary analysis, attendance at events and (authorised) monitoring of citizen councils, as well as training (participation-action type) with the team of the general directorate of citizen participation.

 

What has been the level of co-responsibility?

This project has involved, in different phases:

  • Citizens in general, contributing to mapping the state of affairs, as well as participating in the analysis of the quality of participatory processes and citizen councils.

  • The specialised sector in gender mainstreaming - up to 6 entities - providing the methodology for the project proposal. One of them developed it in its entirety.

  • The institutional body that coordinates gender policies from the Government of the Generalitat de Catalunya, providing guidelines for the development of the project.

  • All the managers and technicians of the Directorate General for Citizen Participation of the Government of Catalonia.

  • Other actors in the sector, such as those responsible for the participation of other administrations, other technicians from other fields (e.g. development cooperation, etc.), contributing with their vision of the state of affairs.

  • Part of the team of the Secretariat of Transparency and Open Government of the Generalitat de Catalunya, in the final evaluation of quality.

 

Description

Which is the most innovative aspect of the experience?

To our knowledge, this is the first time that a systematic application to the gender mainstreaming approach to citizen participation is made.

At the level of strategic public policy plans, gender mainstreaming is not a new idea. Formally expressed in the Platform for Action resulting from the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995), it has been gradually accepted since then. However, we were not aware of any purely sectoral approach to the field of citizen participation. We had indeed been able to find gender mainstreaming strategies in areas close to citizen participation. On the one hand, in the field of development cooperation, especially in strategies aimed at capacity building and institutional quality. On the other hand, in the field of urban planning, where feminism has always had a very strong evolutionary front since it is the point where the public and private spheres cross, a zone of friction due to the construction of many discriminations based on gender. Finally, and related to the previous ones, in the field of democratic quality and institutional transformation, especially related to gender equity in the institutions of representative democracy.

The main innovative element of the experience is therefore to generate a vision of gender mainstreaming specifically designed for the area of citizen participation, with its similarities to other areas, but also with its particularities.

On the other hand, our approach has sought to be - obligatorily - intersectional, given that citizen participation is, at the same time, a vector of inclusion and a vector of deepening existing segregations. Thus, and as can be seen in the Guide to Gender Mainstreaming in Citizen Participation Processes, dialogue with other factors of exclusion and vulnerability is constant.

 

To what extent is the procedure transferable?

Our project has been designed from the beginning to be fully transferable to everyone.

Beyond the different analyses, proposals for improvement and incorporation of such improvements in our own instruments, we wanted to make an abstraction of both the problem of gender discrimination and the good practices for a good mainstreaming of gender policies in citizen participation.

Thus, the Guide to Gender Mainstreaming in Citizen Participation Processes, even with its possible biases and partial views, aims to be a compendium of knowledge and procedures perfectly applicable to any type of participatory process designed and carried out in any corner of the world, both by public administration at its different levels and by organised civil society.

In our particular case, both the guide and the internal documents will be applied systematically and repeatedly in all participation projects and in each of their different phases: design, public procurement, information and communication, promotion of events and advice, evaluation.

Why do you consider that the experience is feasible?

The experience began with dialogue with some civil society associations that were working in the field of gender equity. The regulatory framework applicable to Spain and, in particular, to Catalonia was also very favourable to the initiative. Among others, we had:

  • The directives for equality between women and men in development cooperation of the Generalitat de Catalunya (2010).

  • Law 17/2015 of 21st July on effective equality between women and men.

  • The report model for the diagnosis of equality between women and men of the Generalitat de Catalunya (2017).

  • The Guide to Gender Mainstreaming in Public Contracts of the Government of Catalonia (2018).

Massive social phenomena such as the #MeToo (2018) or #Cuéntalo (2018) movements made very clear demands on public representatives to take action on the issue of gender violence in particular and discrimination in general. Citizen participation, the bridge par excellence between citizens and the Administration, could not be left out.

On the other hand, the proliferation of instruments and channels of citizen participation, as well as the growing demand for participation processes - very relevant in Spain since the Indignados movement (15M, 2015) - made this process practically unavoidable.

 

Which evaluation and accountability mechanisms were used?

Internally, the project has consisted of five checks and balances between gender experts, users and control technicians.

  • For the area of gender mainstreaming in public procurement, the gender experts, the general directorate for citizen participation and legal advice and the general sub-directorate for economic management, contracting and assets.

  • For the area of gender mainstreaming in the development of deliberative processes and citizens' councils, the gender experts, the general directorate of citizen participation in general, and the research and evaluation unit of the same general directorate.

  • For the area of gender mainstreaming on information and communication, the gender experts, the general directorate of citizen participation in general, and the unit of communication and digital processes of the same general directorate.

  • For the area of gender mainstreaming in the evaluation of citizen participation processes, the gender experts, the general directorate of citizen participation in general, and the research and evaluation unit of the same general directorate.

  • For the development of the Guide, the gender experts, the general directorate of citizen participation in general, the secretariat of transparency and open government and, at the time of its open access publication, all citizens.

Thus, all the processes and sub-products of the project have been evaluated by different people at every step.

As of today, two evaluations are pending:

  • The final publication and the reception of comments and improvements on it, which will be carried out in two areas: citizenship in general, and the Network of Transparent Governments (a multilevel Catalan network of administrations working on transparency, open data and citizen participation)

  • The impact assessment of improvements in public procurement, deliberative processes and citizens' councils, and the final evaluation of the processes.

 

Comments of the jury

This project can enrich all other projects. A strong lever for the emergence of gender in citizen participation. The proposal is innovative in reviewing literature and praxis, and defining guidelines of action.

 

Note: this experience was drafted by the institution which presented the candidacy for the 14th IOPD Award.

 

Annexes: