Gender Budgeting - An Overview by the EWL (2004)

ewl gender budgeting publication 2004 en

In all societies, access to resources, rights and power are still unequally distributed between women and men. In
almost all areas of life, this unequal distribution of wealth, power and quality of life is more favourable to men than
to women. Less than 2% of all land is owned by women, the average percentage of women in parliaments across the
world is 14.5%, and women on average earn 73% of men’s hourly earnings for the same job with the same qualifications
in the EU.

All public policies play a role in contributing to achieving the important political, economic and social goal of equality
between women and men. In particular, a government’s decision about how money is raised, through a range of different
taxation measures, and about how money is spent, for example on public services like health and housing or investment
in road building, can either widen or reduce the gap between the situation of women and men in society.

Budgets transform governments’ political priorities and commitments into practical measures. In working to achieve a
more equal society, it is therefore important to question if a commitment to gender equality is taken into account when
decisions are made by our governments, and by the European institutions, about how money is raised and spent.
“Gender budgeting” is the process through which public budgets are examined in order to assess whether they do
or they do not contribute to more equality between women and men, and then to introduce changes that promote
gender equality accordingly.

This paper provides an overview of existing analysis and work in relation to gender budgeting with a special focus on
the European Union and its Member States. Part A takes a look at what gender budgeting is, what its aims and strategies
are; Part B explains the details of gender-sensitive budget analysis, and answers questions like: Who can be the
actors of gender budgeting initiatives? At what level (national, regional, local) can such initiatives be launched?, Part C
focuses on the European Union and possible gender budgeting initiatives at European level; and Part D gives an
overview of some gender budgeting initiatives in European countries.

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