Global Resources

Increasing financial investment in women and girls through gender responsive budgeting

Author: R. Hinds
Publisher: Governance and Social Development Resource Centre
Publication Date: Jan 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 wellNigeria is a state party to all the international and regional conventions on gender equality, but has not domesticated them. Executive Director of the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC) of Nigeria, Oby Nwankwo, wrote this background paper on engendering political leadership and accountability in Nigeria. In it, Nwankwo offers a detailed examination of gender responsiveness in setting political agendas in Nigeria.

Nwankwo recognises that various economic, political, social and systemic practices narrow the field of potential female political candidates in Nigeria. Party politics in Nigeria is still a virtually exclusively male affair, with very few women elected to political party offices. Male-dominated political culture and values are one of the reasons for gender imbalance in elective offices. The situation is further aggravated by corruption, violence against women, the perception of women as secondary voters, as well as widespread systematic discrimination against women.

Electoral finance is an increasing obstacle to the achievement of gender equality in the electoral process, as the cost of contesting a party nomination is disadvantageous to women, who have less financial resources than men. In addition, the men who fund the parties, or ‘Godfathers’, see themselves as the owners of the parties, and therefore control and dominate them.

Political Parties are critical in determining who runs for elective positions, yet women are not found in the decision-making organs of parties. The more popular position for women is that of “woman leader” which has little or no powers. The Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Committee recommended gender equality mainstreaming into the electoral process, an opportunity to reform the electoral process, which the executive arm of government misused and eventually lost.

There are several civil society initiatives aimed at redressing the gender imbalance in the electoral process. These include the Civil Society Coordinating Committee on Electoral Reform, a coalition of NGOs in Nigeria that engaged the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Committee to advocate for gender sensitive provisions in the Constitution and Electoral Act.The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Network on Gender Equality (GENDERNET) produced this publication to address the integration of a gender equality perspective into Public Financial Management (PFM) in its partner countries.

This policy brief suggests ways of using gender-responsive budgeting (GRB), making the case that GRB seeks to ensure an efficient allocation of resources based on the needs identified; and it has so far been used more for advocacy than action. Since most countries have failed to implement GRB in a meaningful and sustainable way, this brief posits ideas on how to make GRB integrations more effective.

The brief first overviews the concepts of PFM and GRB, defining the ‘who-what-where-when-why’, before delving into issues of reforming PFM. To do so, the report outlines the basic budgetary functions that reforms seek to achieve, which are:

• a universal and unified budget without off-budget items or parallels;
• effective recording and reporting of expenditure revenues;
• transparency and agency about budgeting processes and disbursements;
• establishment of links between budget and initial objectives; and
• inclusion of measures of outputs and outcomes in the budgetary framework.

The report gives real-world context by offering up examples of GRB in the Philippines, India and the United Kingdom, highlighting good and bad examples, as well as the critical role of civil society in the establishment of GRB.

The report then turns to opportunities and challenges for gender-responsive PFM; both opportunities and challenges are examined under the themes of ‘Political Will’, the ‘Capacity Challenge’, and ‘Data Disaggregated by Sex’.

In conclusion, the brief reinforces the value of GRB as a means to systematically address gender equality and women’s empowerment through government budgets and financial management. To GENDERNET, GRB remains an ambitious element of any PFM reform, and calls for long-term perspective and patience.
How successful has gender responsive budgeting (GRB) been in increasing financial investment in girls and women, and in gender equality? This report answers this question, drawing on literature on what approaches have worked and why (or why not), criticisms of GRB, and alternative approaches to increasing financial investment in women and girls.

Overall, based on the literature reviewed, the report asserts that GRB is difficult to attribute to financial change. Success stories in South Africa, Mexico, Tanzania and the Indian province of Kerala were all examined. From these stories, the report identifies several overarching enabling factors, including: securing political support; improving awareness and capacity building; and having consistent monitoring and evaluation standards.

Some obstacles to implementing GRB are also identified, including: limited capacity of resources; deficiencies in institutional knowledge; and a lack of sex-disaggregated data to inform analysis.

The report then goes deeper into success stories and their enabling factors. Further enabling factors, such as strong institutional mechanisms and donor partnerships, are outlined and explored here. The report posits that, while literature cautions that there is no single or definitive way of initiating GRB, it is possible to isolate factors that have improved the strengths of GRB, such as the aforementioned enablers.

A deeper analysis of criticism follows, giving several examples to provide country and regional context. Subsequently, the report suggests alternative approaches to securing greater investments in women and girls, such as sector-specific advocacy strategies, with Family Care International’s ‘evidence-advocacy’ to support more investment in women’s health in Burkina Faso. 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.