The Gender Responsive Budgeting website was launched in 2001 by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), now UN Women, in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat and Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The website strives to support efforts of governments, women's organizations, members of parliaments and academics to ensure that planning and budgeting effectively respond to gender equality goals. It also aims to promote cross-regional information-sharing on country experiences and facilitates networking and collaboration between countries, civil society and international and regional organizations. GRB practitioners and gender equality advocates will find on this site a variety of resources, assessments and training materials on gender responsive budgeting.
What is Gender-Responsive Budgeting?
Gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) refers to the analysis of the impact of actual government expenditure and revenue on women and girls as compared to men and boys. It neither requires separate budgets for women, nor does it aim to solely increase spending on women-specific programmes. Instead, it helps governments decide how policies need to be adjusted, and where resources need to be reallocated to address poverty and gender inequalities.
The budget is a policy statement, reflecting a government's social and economic priorities, and the fulfillment of its political commitment, in monetary terms, to specific programmes and policies. Although national budgets may appear to be gender-neutral policy instruments, government expenditures and revenue collection have different impacts on women and men. Gender-responsive budget analysis (link to tools for gender budget analysis) provides a way to hold governments accountable to their commitments to gender equality and women s human rights by linking these commitments to the distribution, use and generation of public resources.
Gender budget initiatives target national, provincial, and municipal processes and may cover the overall budget or selected parts. They can be carried out within government by the Ministry of Finance in conjunction with the Ministry of Women s Affairs or other spending ministries or outside government by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and/or independent researchers. Initiatives with support within and outside of government, operating in dialogue with each other, have proven especially effective.
Since its introduction in Australia in the mid 1990s, GRB has grown to become a well-recognized tool for strengthening accountability for gender equality and women's empowerment. It provides strategic entry points for bringing a gender equality perspective to economic policy making, national planning, budgeting and programming. GRB efforts in more than 50 countries (link to GRB around the world) in the past five years have generated a range of positive results. In some cases, they have provided a firm evidence base to more accurately and effectively determine resource requirements to fulfill agreed national and local commitments to gender equality; in other cases, they have engaged Ministries of Finance to become leaders on GRB, resulting in the Ministries significantly changing national budgeting processes to become more gender responsive; in other cases they have empowered women's rights advocates to monitor implementation of gender mainstreaming goals to determine how these have translated into resources and services for women.