Laura Neumann, director, Global Access to Information Program, The Carter Center
What is the right of access to information?
- Allows for citizen engagement
- Improves trust
- Greater transparency and accountable
- And more...!
- More foreign investment
- Improves use of scarce resources
- Anti-corruption measure
- More job satisfaction
- Better customer service
- More equity/fair processes
There are many challenges, which include the will do go through the process to make information accessible.
- More effective decision making
- More fuller participation in public life
- Help people exercise other rights
- Hold the government and others accountable
- Bridges gender and class gaps and shifts in power
- Economically empowering
- Provides meaningful voice
BTW if you give a dollar to a woman, she will invest about 90 cents in her family. If you give a dollar to a man, he will invest 25-35 cents in his family.
The burden of being a woman
- 70% are impoverished and 2/3rds are illiterate
- Approx. 35% have experience gender based violence
- More susceptible to or affected by corruption
- Limited economic and educational opportunities
Overarching problems: information production, access, and distribution. Information production may be geared to the needs of men, not of women.
Hypothesis: Women are not able to exercise their right of access to information with the same facility as men. Did a study across three countries that have freedom of information laws.
- Lack of awareness
- Fear of asking
- No time
- Not culturally appropriate
- Information is seen as not appropriate for women
What would help?
- Employment / right to work
- Land / property
- Women's rights
The Carter Center is working to improve awareness and access. She spoke about Liberia and Guatemala.
Do other marginalized persons face similar obstacles?
- Rural populations
- ...and others.
- Shifting political landscapes
- Heavily politicized context
- Deeply held social-cultural beliefs
- There is no existing model for doing this work
- Very little empirical data
- Poor infrastructure
- Difficult security environment
- Information is not a magic bullet
- Age should not be overlooked as a variable that impacts women's ATI
- Some obstacles vary by country
- Change takes time
- Everyone needs gender sensitization
- New frontier issues:
- Open data versus access to information
- Sustainable development goals
- Closing space
- Naitional security
- Privacy versus openness
- Political leaders
Thoughts for consideration:
- Who are you not reaching?
- How can you support women and marginalized persons to access information for more meaningful engagement?
- What can you do to bridge the gaps?