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Do the Math: Include Women in Government Budgets

Zohra Khan and Lisa Kolovich

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Every day, women around the world experience less opportunity than men in education and employment, and less political representation. While many countries recognize the need for gender equality and women’s empowerment, governments can structure spending and taxation in ways to advance gender equality even further—a process called gender budgeting.

Overall, gender budgeting can make a real difference in people’s lives.

A United Nations report, found that globally, there is an overall gender wage gap of 24 percent, women are 26 percent less likely to be employed than men, 75 percent of women’s employment is unregulated or informal to some extent, and women remain economically disadvantaged. Well-designed policies can improve the efficiency and equity of the overall budget process, because they actively seek to address inequality. Over all, this kind of gender budgeting can make a real difference in people’s lives.

In Ecuador, gender budgeting at the provincial level opened up opportunities for women like Maria Rosa Susquilanda to sell their goods at local markets. Gender budgeting in Ethiopia has helped both women and men understand the importance of women’s role in the economy. In the Yefag kebele for example, women served on the local water committee and analyzed the construction of water spots with women’s concerns in mind.

Combining the knowledge from a joint IMF- UK Department For International Development global survey of gender budgeting efforts and UN Women’s decades of experience in providing technical support and capacity development, there are six proven principles of successful gender budgeting initiatives.

How to do gender budgeting

What can countries do to improve their gender budgeting efforts?

On March 8 we will celebrate International Women’s Day. Every day, budget officials at the national, state, and local levels of government must make decisions on how to allocate their resources. With gender budgeting, country officials also have an opportunity to do the math and look at the impact of spending and tax policies on women and society as a whole.


Related Links:
Fiscal Policies and Gender Equality
Gender and the IMF
Gender Budgeting and Gender Equality Database


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