National Planning and Budgeting
Public planning is the jumping-off point for the range of public services and policies that citizens expect from their governments, yet it often overlooks women’s specific needs and priorities. Gender equality should be a stated objective of all plans, backed by specific actions for implementation and sufficient funding.
A budget is the most comprehensive statement of a government’s social and economic plans and priorities. In tracking where the money comes from and where it goes, budgets determine how public funds are raised, how they are used and who benefits from them. Therefore, implementing commitments towards gender equality requires intentional measures to incorporate a gender perspective in planning and budgeting frameworks and concrete investment in addressing gender gaps.
Gender-responsive budgeting is not about creating separate budgets for women, or solely increasing spending on women’s programmes. Rather gender-responsive budgeting seeks to ensure that the collection and allocation of public resources is carried out in ways that are effective and contribute to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. It should be based on in-depth analysis that identifies effective interventions for implementing policies and laws that advance women’s rights. It provides tools to assess the different needs and contributions of men and women, and boys and girls within the existing revenues, expenditures and allocations and calls for adjusting budget policies to benefit all groups.
Gender-responsive budget analysis, along with legislation, and other practical policy measures can address gender bias and discrimination. It is a step not only towards accountability to women’s rights, but also towards greater public transparency and can shift economic policies leading to gains across societies.
UN Women at Work
Since 1997, UN Women has provided support to gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) initiatives, in more than 40 countries. At the forefront of global advocacy for application of GRB, UN Women has built partnerships with UN agencies, the Commonwealth Secretariat, International Development Research Institute, and the Economic Commission, to further efforts at the country level, and demonstrate GRB’s relevance to the Millennium Development Goals, aid effectiveness, public sector reform and financing for development. UN Women also facilitates knowledge-building and maintains the only website exclusively devoted to GRB. Launched in 2001, the portal is widely used by practitioners and represents a comprehensive database of country initiatives and relevant resources.