Gender Budgeting: A Way Governments Can Promote Gender Equality

What is gender budgeting and its role in promoting gender equality?

Gender budgeting – the process of conceiving, planning, approving, executing, monitoring, analyzing and auditing budgets in a gender-sensitive way, involves analysis of actual expenditure and revenue (usually of governments) on women and girls as compared to expenditures on men and boys. Gender Budgeting can also be a way governments can promote gender equality, says Visual Assessment.

In the context of policy, gender equality is presented as a worthwhile goal for equity and efficiency reasons. There are several definitions and approaches towards gender equality, yet most agree that it is about empowerment and fairness at the economic, political, and moral level.

There are several definitions and approaches towards gender equality, yet most agree that it is about empowerment and fairness at the economic, political, and moral level

In fact, gender equality is about parity in opportunity as well as reducing the gaps in terms of employment, wages and decision-making position. It is about reassessing the differences between unpaid and paid works. It is moreover about happiness and well-being.

For instance, better employment conditions for women benefit the family, the community and ultimately also the economy.

Policy efforts have been placed in both increasing opportunities and closing gender gaps, and one effective strategy to achieve gender equality has been gender budgeting.

Gender budgeting is an application of gender mainstreaming in the budgetary process. It involves analysing the budget based on the differing impacts on both men/boys and women/girls to then allocate resources accordingly. It also involves setting targets and directing funds to meet them.

The first country to introduce gender budgeting was Australia in the mid-80s.

The first country to introduce gender budgeting was Australia in the mid-80s. Since then other nations appear to have made efforts on such direction such as Switzerland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Mozambique and the United Kingdom. All these initiatives have a common focus, and thus analysing public expenditures and revenue from a gender perspective.

However, the developing strategies of these initiatives have been varied.

Investing in welfare allows women to increase women labour force participation. Welfare affects women because, in general, they not only earn less but they are also more likely than men to be single parents.

Welfare affects women because, in general, they not only earn less but they are also more likely than men to be single parents.

Financing social infrastructure and public services such as, for example, child care has been known as a strategy to increase labour force too.

Less child care is related to the work force as it requires women to provide more unpaid labour at home, and at the same time it is related to the decline in fertility rates, and consequently, ageing population.

In poorer countries, investing in clean water or electricity allows women and girls going to work or school instead of spending their days fetching water. In Rwanda, for example, investment in clean water not only curbed disease but also freed up girls to go to school.

The principles of gender budgeting as well as other examples of initiatives in countries such as South Korea and Uganda have been summarized below.

VA_GenderBudgeting (1)

The effect of increasing income and women’s empowerment is clear. It translates into a higher household spending on nutrition, health and education, which have a positive social and economic impact in general.

Considering gender when setting budgets is a good way to start for governments to promote gender equality and with certain positive effects in the labour market, productivity and, in turn, on economic growth.

This article and illustration have been contributed by Visual Assessment.

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