According to the Council of Europe, gender budgeting is an application of gender mainstreaming in the budgetary process. It means a gender-based assessment of budgets, incorporating a gender perspective at all levels of the budgetary process and restructuring revenues and expenditures in order to promote gender equality. Gender budgeting is conducted in three stages:
Stage 1: Analysing the budget from a gender perspective
The first level of analysis is to produce a sex-disaggregated report of end users or recipients of budget programmes. Probing deeper from a gender perspective, the analysis can go on to demonstrate:
- the degree to which the budget has satisfied the needs of the recipients;
- how the gendered needs and roles of the recipients contribute to the level of satisfaction;
- the challenges and barriers faced by those in the target group who have not accessed services;
- the degree to which the budget has reduced, exacerbated or left unchanged gender inequality;
- the relationship – more often than not, the disconnect - between stated policies – particularly gender equality policies – and budgetary decisions;
- why the budget needs to take account of the differing participation rates of women and men in the care economy.
Stage 2: Restructuring the budget based on gender analysis
Where analysis reveals that budget resources have not been distributed in a gender equitable way, a response from the budget is required to redress the inequity. Where the distribution of budget resources does not match the government’s gender equality policies, realignment is required. Once the differential impact of the budget on women and on men is revealed, there is an obligation to incorporate gender as a category of analysis within the budgetary processes.
Stage 3: Mainstreaming gender as a category of analysis in the budgetary processes
Gender budgeting is not just about the content of budgets; it is also about the processes involved in budget-making. This is the work of mainstreaming gender budgeting. It requires an ongoing commitment to understanding gender, which includes analysis and consultation, and ongoing budget readjustments to take account of the changing needs of women and men, boys and girls.
If you want to know more about the practical implementation of gender budgeting, have a look at this resource from the Council of Europe.