I am taking a budgeting class at school and I have gotten really interested in how governments can budget for women.
To gage if our governments are budgeting for women, these are the questions we need to ask: • Does public spending benefit men and women equally? • Will government policies increase, maintain or reduce gender inequalities? • What kind of spending would women prioritize in the budget? • How do taxation policies impact women and men? • How can women influence budget planning?
And lastly, the question that I have been myself a lot lately, how can women ensure government accountability for gender equality?
UNWomen defines gender responsive budgeting as government planning, programming and budgeting that contributes to the advancement of gender equality and the fulfillment of women's rights. This process entails identifying and reflecting needed interventions to address gender gaps in sector and local government budgets, plans and policies. The United States hasn't adopted any sort of gender responsive budgeting, but there are great examples of many countries around the world that have implemented gender responsive budgeting policies.
Peru has focused on incorporating a gender perspective in all major investment projects that are top government priority and receive international aid. Now all major projects are required to report on how its money contributes to closing the gender gap. In Bolivia, a once local task force of grassroots women’s organizations has gone national. These clusters of grassroots women's organizations were formed to ensure accountability of their local governments and promote gender responsive budgeting. Today, this task force of women has been incorporated into national policy and now these women are the watchdogs, ensuring gender equity in the budget.
The exciting news is that Peru and Bolivia are just two examples in a world full of countries that are slowly incorporating gender responsive budgeting into their policies. It will be interesting to see how and if these new policies effect women. Furthermore, it will be interesting to see how long it will take the United States to incorporate gender equity measures into its budgeting practices and policies.