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What is Gender Budgeting?
- Gender budgeting is a strategy to achieve equality between women and men by focusing on how public resources are collected and spent.
- The Council of Europe defines gender budgeting as a ‘gender based assessment of budgets incorporating a gender perspective at all levels of the budgetary process and restructuring revenues and expenditures in order to promote gender equality’.
The purpose of Gender Budgeting is three-fold:
- to promote accountability and transparency in fiscal planning;
- to increase gender responsive participation in the budget process, for example by undertaking steps to involve women and men equally in budget preparation
- to advance gender equality and women’s rights.
- At EU level, the European Parliament is ultimately responsible for the EU budget and the European Commission Directorate-General for Budget for its execution.
- EU Member States’ parliaments and public administrations are responsible for their national and sub-national budget cycles.
- Effective implementation of gender budgeting requires political commitment matched with a technical capacity for gender mainstreaming. Engaged leadership is of particular importance to ensure that gender equality is integrated into the planning and budgeting processes and that public budget revenues and expenditures benefit women and men equally.
- It is introduced in Common wealth nations
- Australia was the first country to implement a women’s budget in 1984. Federal, state and territorial governments in Australia examined the impact of budgets on women and girls for 12 years until a change of government in 1996.
- South Africa’s Women’s Budget Initiative was initiated in 1995 and involves NGO’s, parliamentarians, and a wide range of researchers and advisers.
- Gender budget initiatives in Tanzania(1997) and Uganda(1999) examine the impacts of structural adjustment programs in these countries and specifically focus on education and health.
- Many of the earlier gender budget initiatives focused primarily on the expenditure side rather than the revenue side of government budgets. Since 1995 there have been gender budget initiatives in more than 60 countries around the world.
Key enabling factors for gender budgeting include:
- Political will and political leadership;
- High-level commitment of public administrative institutions;
- Improved technical capacity of civil servants;
- Civil society involvement;
- Sex-disaggregated data.
Why is gender budgeting important?
- Gender budget analysis contributes to improved information on the potentially different situations and needs of women and men, as well as on distributional effects and the impact of resources on women and men.
- Thus, gender budgeting provides the basis for better and more evidence-based decision-making. This in turn contributes to ensuring that public funds are being used more effectively.
Gender budgeting in India
- The central government introduced gender budgeting in 2005-06 as a budgetary practice. It has institutionalized Gender Budgeting by introducing a Gender Budget Statement (GBS) since 2005-06.
- The GBS captures the total quantum of resources earmarked for women in a financial year.
- The Economic Survey of 2017-2018 assumes special significance for two reasons-
- It marks the last full Budget of the Government before the 2019 General Elections.
- For the first time, the survey entails a dedicated chapter on gender, relaying a renewed focus on the most urgent challenge of our time. The chapter rightfully notes the gains made by the government in improving gender indicators and more importantly, offers an analytical method to capture the under examined issue of son meta-preference.