Chapter 03: Services - Field Stories
Gender Responsive Budgeting

The term "Gender Responsive Budgets" (GRB) broadly refers to government budgets that are formulated based on an assessment of the different roles and needs of women and men in society. GRB aims at reflecting women's demands throughout the policy making stages including planning, budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. A wide range of organizations, including UN organizations, bilateral donors, and international and national NGOs have provided assistance. UNIFEM has contributed to building interest, capacity and commitment to incorporating GRB in budgetary processes in over 30 countries.

In Morocco, for the past three years government departments have been required to prepare a gender report annexed to the annual national budget. In 2007, this analysis covered 17 departments. The gender report is an accountability tool that provides information on budget allocations and sex-disaggregated performance indicators. It also helps to identify areas in need of corrective measures in order to achieve compliance with national commitments to women's rights. An analysis of the budgetary resources allocated to agricultural extension activities, for example, revealed that in 2004 women represented only 9% of the beneficiaries of these services even though women make up 39% of the total number of people engaged in rural economic activity. As a result, the 2007 budget increased support for programs benefiting rural women by over 50% compared to 2005.

By 2008, more than fifteen countries have systematically introduced gender responsive budgeting guidelines, built the capacity of planning and budgeting staff to apply a gender perspective to their planning and budgeting, and established mechanisms for monitoring sex-disaggregated outcomes. In South Korea, according to the 2006 National Finance Act, the submission of a gender budget and gender-balanced reports will be mandatory from the 2010 fiscal year. In anticipation of this, in its budget guidelines for 2007-2008 the Ministry of Strategy and Finance has instructed that every ministry specify gender related demands and use special formats that incorporate gender.

GRB initiatives have placed extensive emphasis on ensuring that the existing national budgetary accountability mechanisms work for women. To achieve this, gender equality advocates have worked closely with members of parliament to ensure that parliamentarians play their budget oversight role by monitoring how budgets address women's priorities and investigate whether government expenditures benefit women and men in an equitable manner. Rosana Sasieta, a Member of Parliament from Peru, captured the growing momentum around GRB in a recent statement: "Gender budgeting makes sense in all walks of life," she said, "because women in our country do more work for lower pay and have been contributing to the economy without due recognition, so what we want is simply that part of the State's financial resources be devoted to overcoming inequalities that are holding women back. That is all – the simplest thing in the world!"