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What can Gender Responsive Budgeting Achieve? . Diane Elson University of Essex May 2011. What is Gender Responsive Budgeting? .

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What can Gender Responsive Budgeting Achieve?

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What can Gender Responsive Budgeting Achieve?

Diane Elson

University of Essex

May 2011


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What is Gender Responsive Budgeting?

  • GRB consists of the use of tools to analyse the gender dimensions of budgets; and adoption of procedures to ensure that the budget supports the achievement of gender equality.

  • It requires better understanding of who are the beneficiaries of public expenditure and who contributes in different ways to pay for public expenditure.

  • It requires consideration of how budgets impact on the unpaid work of caring for family and friends.

  • It also assists in the achievement of various other objectives: Efficiency, Effectiveness ,Transparency, Accountability.

  • Civil society ( academics, women’s groups) can contribute to the analysis.


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Some Clarifications

  • GRB does NOT imply that 50 per cent of tax revenues should be paid by males and 50 per cent by females, because women´s incomes are lower than men’s.

  • GRB does NOT imply that 50 per cent of spending on EACH programme should accrue to females and 50 per cent should accrue to males, because women and girls and men and boys are present in different proportions in the groups relevant to different programmes.

  • GRB doesnotnecessarilyhavetocovereveryitem of expenditure and revenue, butitshouldnotbeconfinedto social sectors


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Types of GRB achievements

  • Knowledge:

  • improved indicators and statistics

  • Procedures:

  • improved budget decision-making , reporting and disbursement

  • Expenditures:

  • improved design to support gender equality

  • Revenue:

  • Improved design to support gender equality

  • Fiscal stimulus/contraction

  • Improved design to support gender equality


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Knowledge: Improved Gender Indicators and Statistics

  • Australia: 14 gender equality indicators developed to link Women’s Budget Statements to 5 yr National Agenda for Women Action Plans.

  • Tanzania and Pakistan: conduct of national time use survey to enable analysis of impact of public expenditure on unpaid work.

  • Sweden: annex to budget, with gender disaggregated analysis.

    Examples : Economic costs of parenthood , Financial situation of elderly.

  • Norway : annex to budget, with gender disaggregated statistics on income, employment, use of health services etc.

  • Italy ( town in central Italy) : better information on beneficiaries of rent –subsidies , showing they include not just unemployed and elderly ( as was expected), but also divorced women with children.


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Improved Budget Procedures

  • Sweden : Introduction of gender sensitive performance indicators.

  • France: Introduction of budget paper highlighting expenditures earmarked to promote gender equality and address women’s needs.

  • Scotland : Introduction of equalities impact statement.

  • South Africa: Enhancing capacity of women parliamentarians to scrutinize budget.

  • Berlin, Basel, Scotland : women’s organizations and gender experts contributing analysis of budgets.

  • Austria , Belgium : Legislation to require gender responsive budgeting.


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Improved Expenditures to Support Gender Equality

  • Australia: introduction of comprehensive paid parental leave, 2009/10.

  • Sweden: Redesign of labour market programmes to help close gender gap in entry into permanent jobs, 2007; town of Botkyra, funding for new programmes to assist migrant women participate in labour market.

  • Austria: at least 50% of funding for labour market programmes to be reserved for women, 2006/7.

  • Andalusia, Spain: new fund of 1 million Euros to support further development of gender responsive budgeting, 2010.

  • Netherlands: increased expenditure for social issues in two rural areas

    ( e.g programmes to address domestic violence).


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Improved Gender Equality in Income Tax

UK: redesign of Working Tax Credit ( WTC)

WTC is an income transfer that tops up wages so as to make having a job pay more than living on benefits. It is like a negative income tax and administered through the UK tax authority.

It is assessed on a household, not individual basis.

UK Women’s Budget Group identified danger of fostering a ‘male breadwinner’ household, and pressed government for change.

System was redesigned:

Child care subsidy element paid to main carer separately from other elements in WTC

Supplement to WTC for having a full time earner modified so that ‘full time’ hours can be split between a couple


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Improved Gender Equality in Indirect Taxes

  • South Africa: exemption of paraffin from VAT

  • In South Africa a selection of basic foodstuffs are zero-rated, including brown bread, maize meal, dried beans, milk powder, rice, vegetables and fruit.

  • But some basic necessities were subject to VAT, including paraffin, which is used by poor women for cooking, lighting and heating.

  • Women’s Budget Initiative highlighted that poor households paid a much bigger share of their income in tax on paraffin than better-off households, since the latter used very little paraffin.

  • It was calculated that the annual revenue loss to the government of zero-rating paraffin would be R150 million in 1996.

    The total raised from VAT in 1995/95 was R29,288.4 millions.

  • Exempting paraffin would be a well-targeted form of assistance to poor women

  • The government subsequently exempted paraffin fromVAT.


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Supporting gender equality in fiscal stimulus/ contraction

Andalusia, Spain , 2010 budget ( almost 34million Euros)

  • Total expenditure cut by 1.4 %

  • Expenditure on Gender Equality Priority (G+) programmes rose by 2.7%

  • Share of G+ programmes in total expenditure rose from 53.6% to 57.7%

  • G+ classification introduced in 2007, based on input from officials in all departments and from academic experts.


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