Chapter 01: Who Answers To Women?
Argentinean NGO Translates Information into Action
Argentinean NGO Translates Information into Action
Mujeres en Igualdad (MEI) in Argentina is a women's NGO that has placed accountability to women at the core of its mandate. Its campaigns for accountability have targeted all aspects of governance, READ MORE

Chapter 1 provides a gender-responsive definition of accountability and focuses on the key elements that are required to ‘make accountability work' for women. It argues that government commitments to gender equality are important, but they are likely to remain words on paper unless supported by performance assessments for public officials and corrective actions in cases of performance failure.

  • Progress 2008/2009 understands accountability as the capacity of citizens in general – and women in particular – to:
    • ask for explanations and information regarding government actions;
    • where necessary, to initiate investigations or to get compensation;
    • and, finally, to see officials sanctioned, if they have failed to respond to women's needs or protect their rights.
  • Accountability failures affect women, especially poor women, more acutely because of gendered social relations that can mute their voice and influence in public decision-making, or because of gender biases that undermine their efforts to seek redress or justice when rights are abused.
  • Women often have a different perspective on accountability than men because of different experiences of accountability failures. For example, women perceive more corruption in public services than do men in most regions.
  • Improving accountability to women means women's rights and gender equality need to be ‘mission critical' in at least three areas: mandates, implementation, and culture and attitudes.
    • Mandates: For example, new laws might be necessary for police to investigate violence in the home.
    • Procedures: This can include changing incentives, implementing performance measures and review, and removing barriers and improving access. For example, in the 2006 Liberian elections, UNIFEM helped women's groups transport market women to voter registration offices that were situated far from marketplaces.
    • Culture and attitudes: For example, campaigns involving men and boys to end violence against women have been effective in countries as diverse as Brazil and Timor-Leste.