Gender and Budgets Overview Report


Balmori, Helena Hofbauer. 2003. Gender and Budgets Overview Report. Brighton, UK: BRIDGE. 

Author: Helena Hofbauer Balmori


This Overview Report questions why government budgets often allocate resources in ways that perpetuate gender biases and looks at how budgets offer the potential to transform gender inequalities by attaching money to policy commitments. In recent years gender budget initiatives (GBI), both inside and outside government, have risen to this challenge. Although most GBIs are still primarily focused on analysing the budget and its impact, the ultimate aim is to mainstream gender into the criteria that determine the planning, formulation and implementation of the budget. In order to make this a reality, new methodologies need to be identified and documented. The GBIs themselves need to be consistently followed up, evaluated and the identifiable impacts of different GBIs shared. New approaches, alliances and tools also need to be explored, such as the potential for mainstreaming gender into participatory budget initiatives, and the comprehensive development of a rights-based approach to gender and budgets. 

Recommendations from the Overview Report 
Every single GBI has to be recognised as a process of its own, with its own characteristics. There are no readily applicable recipes and no formulas that guarantee success. This stems from the fact that GBIs are political processes, which are connected to and influenced by larger political contexts. It is possible, however, to isolate some features that can make a significant difference in the overall strength of GBIs:


·  Civil society involvement: Civil society can add considerable value to an initiative, by bringing to the table gender experts, exerting public pressure, and holding the government accountable for concrete actions.


·  Hard and constant work, which is well-resourced: budget analysis and advocacy are not sporadic activities, since they must build on solid knowledge. 


·  Women’s participation: any increase in the potential of women to participate in budgetary debates and decision-making is crucial. 


·  Strategic vision: in many strong initiatives one person, or a small group of people, with strategic vision and commitment have been key to their success. 


·  Opportunity of political change: if a larger political change is underway, windows of opportunity are more likely to open for initiatives located both inside and outside the government.

 (Abstract from BRIDGE)

Topics: Economies, Gender, Gender Budgeting

Year: 2003

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