4 min

Diversity is a Fact — Inclusion is a Choice

A woman next to a poster.
Written by
Ani Tovmasyan
Published on
July 19, 2019

This article was written and translated by Ani Tovmasyan, an Open Heroines OGP 19 Travel Grantee of , Armavir Development Center, Huysi Metsamo

Without equal participation of all people, including those at risk of exclusion, society is less able to reach its full potential — both in terms of economy and level of governance.

I am proud to say that as one of the travel grantees among Open Heroines (OH), I had the opportunity to participate in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit on 29–31 May 2019, allowing me to reflect on women’s roles in our society, share thoughts on the challenges we face as women, and share my experience working at Armavir Development Center (ADC), a community-based and community-driven organization in the Armavir region in Armenia.

Reflecting on the Summit has prompted me to use takeaways from the OH sessions and the strategic directions of ADC, my home organization, to help realize the commitment to ‘leave no one behind.”

Four people in a round table discussing.

Bringing Gender-Based Analysis to ADC

I’m particularly impressed with GBA+ (Gender-Based Analysis Plus) to advance gender equality in Armenia. GBA+ is an analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and non-binary people may experience policies, programs and initiatives. ADC is involved in the co-creation and co-implementation of Armenia’s 4th Action Plan, the overall objective of which is to create national/local-led commitments with potentially high impact that lead to increasing government transparency, improving accountability and strengthening citizen engagement and government responsiveness. In the frames of this project, co-designing an ambitious OGP Action plan with potentially transformative commitments through multi-stakeholder dialogue and feedback collection among wider public including citizens, and especially marginalized groups, local/grassroots actors and public servants is one of the priorities. As GBA+ also focuses on marginalized groups, hence, adapting this methodology will facilitat the process of building citizen demand without excluding anyone and oversight to the OGP Action Plan, which will lead to policy-level impact.

This far, our organization applies the GESI (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion) strategy. Adopted through Integrity Action, an organization aiming to engage all groups in our society, GESI provides strategic guidance to our staff to mainstream gender equality and social inclusion. Additionally, thanks to the Summit, I have learned about GBA+ as well, an analytical process used to assess how diverse groups of women, men, and non-binary people may experience policies, programs, and initiatives.

At OGP, I decided to take the online GBA+ course and deepen my knowledge to apply it to my organization’s activities. Now, I am even more ready to be a focal point of this tool at ADC to address the challenges and identify its potential impacts, accounting for how diverse our reality is.

#BreakTheRoles and Moving Ahead from OGP

Feminist Open Government (FOGO) Day, held on Day 2 of the Summit, marked the launch of the OGP #BreakTheRoles campaign. #BreakTheRoles strengthens the gender perspectives in all of our OGP commitments, and identifies patriarchal culture in different countries. Through #BreakTheRoles, I explored for myself that we all face many of the same stereotypes, prejudices, and shortcomings, yet we need to come together in an open space and draft solutions together. We need more meetings, conferences, and networks like those generated at OGP, because working as a team makes us stronger.

A woman holding a sign.

Above all, I believe that this Summit will bring about a change theory enabling women to participate more actively in government and policy roles. It’s important to note that the Summit has already allowed women to do this by selecting women who were lacking these processes before. As for after this, the Summit not only broke a lot of stereotypes, but also equipped us with relevant tools and competences on equal participation and women leadership. With women as active participants in our own policy and our futures, we are able to continue working on more cooperative, comprehensive, and gender-specific policy.

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