The Commission for Gender Equality and Civil Society: Reconceptualising Partnership and Accountability
On September 23 2010 the Heinrich Böll Stiftung (HBS) and the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) hosted a dialogue on the state of the CGE.
The challenges faced by the Commission are well known: the institution has been hampered by a failure to clarify its mandate, criticised for limited co-operation with civil society and dogged by mismanagement. Beginning last year, renewed and determined parliamentary scrutiny of the CGE has began to reveal the extent of difficulties, which in the context of the Report of Ad Hoc Committee on the Review of Chapter 9 and Associate Institutions, increased the institution’s political precariousness.
This poses tough questions for feminist civil society organisations and the women’s movement, who originally demanded the creation of the CGE. What steps should the institution take to become more responsive and effective in dealing with difficulties faced by women? How can trust and alliances with stakeholders be restored? What role does civil society have in strengthening the institution? In what way can the CGE be a critical partner in getting civil society voices heard in the political sphere?
The seminar aimed to provide a forum for the Commission to liaise with civil society on the challenges the organisation has confronted, and moreover, to encourage reflection on what kind of partnerships between the Commission and the sector would in the future assist each to achieve their goals.