Global Resources

Training on Gender-Responsive Budgeting, Budget Analysis and Policy Advocacy

Publisher: Social Watch
Publication Date: Mar 2014

Research for improving policymaking related to non-monetised sectors, such as unpaid care work, is currentIt is difficult to conceive of any public policy to ensure the continued enjoyment of women’s rights that can be carried out without financial resources from the state coffer. This is the argument by the authors of this perspective piece, with particular reference to India. The Indian government has undertaken many new policy initiatives to curb sexual violence, in light of a spate of gang rapes, including passage of a stringent anti-rape law.

The article focuses on two Indian policy documents, assessing their budgeting criteria and criticizing the inadequate provision of funds earmarked for implementing interventions meant for the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

The first part of the article focuses on assessing the financial commitments made in the gender budget, as well as the resources made available to the Ministry of Women and Child Development. The government has claimed in the Budget Statement that funds allocated to women and girls were more than all sectors, except for Defence and Finance. However, the authors showed this analysis to be facetious, as the amount allocated to women and girls was the sum total across 34 ministries.

The latter part of the article examines the projected Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) for Women and Child Development (WCD). Projections outlined by the authors show that the GBS has actually registered a decline, and this is expected to continue.
Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. So said UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in his address to commemorate International Women’s Day 2014. Africa and the African Union (AU) commemorated the day under the theme ‘Stand-Alone Goal on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in Post-2015 Agenda’. The present article captures the sentiments and statements of leaders from around world regarding this most auspicious occasion.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, calls for the transformation of the continent in order to meet its development objectives. Dr. Dlamini-Zuma reminds African leaders that a key part of the Common African Position on the post-2015 development agenda is the mainstreaming of gender and women’s empowerment throughout all pillars and goals of the development agenda, with specific goals related to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the United Nations under-secretary-general and executive director of UN Women notes that empowering women and girls would help to solve, “the greatest challenges of our time.” She also calls upon AU member states to ratify, domesticate and implement the Maputo Protocol, a crucial document to the advancement of women’s rights on the continent.

The article also includes insights by African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Donald Kaberuka, who underscores that the future prospects of Africa are very much a function of our ability to leave no one behind, to make full use of our talents of our people irrespective of their ethnicity or gender. Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Women’s Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN), Dorothy Adebanjo, share her thoughts about how gender budgeting reduces inequalities and promotes gender-sensitive development policies for poverty reduction.

Statistics about the state of women in Africa from sources such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations Population Fund are also found in this article. These statistics outline significant problems that persist for women in Africa, including high maternal mortality and HIV-incidence rates, intergenerational poverty, and lack of access to formal financial services.
The National Budget Group (NBG) of Azerbaijan organised a Gender-Responsive Budgeting, Analysis and Policy Advocacy training session in February 2014. It was facilitated by international consultants Katrin Schneider, Gabriel Lara and Dr. Paul Copeland.

The training began with an in-depth exposition on basic concepts of gender budgeting: the meaning of ‘gender’, and budgets in the context of Azerbaijani principles of good governmental practice. They incorporated these with good practices and lessons learnt all around the world, such as: sex-disaggregated statistics and time-use data, budget planning and programming, and gender-aware policy appraisal and beneficiary assessments.

The next sessions focused on the SMART Framework, specifically, understanding its use in advocacy objectives. The purpose of this session was to help the NBG think strategically about their budget work, in order to define smart advocacy objectives, and then develop an impact plan to realise these objectives.

The training was aimed to present advocacy in a broad sense: conceptualization and the changing of policies and programmes within a wide variety of institutions, from small NGOs to international agencies. The consultants also gave advice on ways of promoting evidence-based policymaking approaches to gender strategies.

In the end, the training was well received by the participants; they indicated that their newly acquired knowledge would help them to better serve the needs of the people of Azerbaijan.


The authors conclude by recognising that previous gender commitments failed to materialise; and the lack budgetary support in the most recent five-year plan is likely to stifle much of its gender difficult, given perceptions of it being a ‘hard-to-price’ sector. This is of particular concern for analysing the effects of gender-budgetary tools on gender equity. The author of this working paper advocates for the utilisation of time-use statistics to solve this problem.

The author outlines three reasons for the lack of integration of time budgets into gender budgeting. Firstly, in many countries, time surveys themselves are seldom conducted at a macro level; in countries where they are undertaken, surveys lack time-series data. Secondly, gender budgeting rarely incorporates analysis of non-market economy sectors, such as unpaid care. Finally, gender budgeting is widely conducted based on the assumption that all public expenditure cannot be gender-partitioned, an assumption which is highly controversial.

A concise rationalisation of gender budgeting follows this. Gender budgeting is explained as being the analysis of entire budgets to determine their gender-differential impacts, especially given the asymmetry in the systemic roles of men and women, governed by culture and/ or social determinants. It is usually unpaid work, which is typically performed by women, that bears the brunt of budgetary cuts in many sectors. The author recognises here the debate as to whether or not some public goods and services, such as defence, are amenable to gender budgeting, but acknowledges that many other types of public expenditure have gender differential impacts.

An analytical framework for the incorporation of time budgets into gender budgeting is then put forward; the author dichotomises this framework into analysing existing budgets through a gender lens (ex-post); and identifying the needs of women, then incorporating them into budgets (ex-ante). The author then introduces a number of indices and formulae for assessing and quantifying the gender impacts of budgets.

She concludes by calling for an urgent re-examination of the construction of the gender (inequality) index if gendered budgets are to be based on index-based, empirical descriptions of gender-specific outcomes.