Gender Budgets and Beyond: Feminist Fiscal Policy in the Context of Globalisation
Publication Date: May 2003
This article is part of a special issue of Oxfam's Gender and Development journal entitled Women Reinventing Globalisation, bringing together insights drawn from the Ninth International Forum of the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID). It focuses on the gender-blindness of macro-economic and fiscal policies. Structural adjustment policies (SAPs) imposed by northern donors require southern governments to reduce spending and put faith in private 'efficiency' to reduce poverty and fuel growth. In fact, the number of people living in poverty has stayed constant or increased, putting greater demands on public services. At the same time, tax revenues in the poorest countries have declined as a result of liberalisation; official development assistance has stayed constant, contrary to the pledge of northern countries to increase it; and public spending has become increasingly corrupt. Reduced access to public services disproportionately affects women and girls, who, for instance, frequently carry a larger burden of care and domestic responsibilities. Feminists must campaign around issues such as debt cancellation and global taxation and ensure more coherence at the international as well as regional and local levels if budgets are to become more gender-sensitive in the future.