Gender budgeting for public finance
Gender budgeting starts from the premise that the way in which resources are raised or allocated has implications as the policies or programmes which are funded, impact differently on women and men. However, gender inequalities are enmeshed in institutional practices, including budgetary processes, and is one of the main reasons to talk about gender and public finance and public policy. This insight does just that.
Budgets have long been thought of as purely technical exercises – balancing income and expenditure within limited or scarce resources. As such they have been thought to be ‘gender neutral’.
Taking a gender analysis approach to revenue raising and resource allocation helps improve understanding of how decisions affect women and men differently because of their experiences in family and household structures, employment and caring and providing for others.
How resources are allocated to services or to social security entitlements, or how taxes are raised, have a different effect on women and men. Therefore, public finance managers require an awareness of the diverse realities of people’s lives and the characteristics that structure people’s experiences of the public services, including the spaces and institutions they seek to use. Gender analysis of the impacts on women and men offers an approach to policy making and public finance management that improves outcomes-based policy making and budgeting across public administration.
Gender budgeting may at first seem to be a collision of two different worlds – public finance and social justice. This insight argues that gender budgeting is an approach to public financial management that seeks to reveal persistent inequalities so that public resources can be directed to best effect to address them.