Friday, February 13, 2009

Gender Budgeting: An instrument for good governance

Source: Concord Flash, nr. 57, January 2009

More then 25 participants from NGOs, the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee participated in the lunch debate on Gender Budgeting as an instrument for good governance. It was organised by the EU Civil Society Contact Group, which CONCORD is a member of alongside seven other NGO sectors. This mid-January debate was timely, as 2009 will see the European Commission proposal for the EU budget reform and its discussion in the Council. The meeting addressed the following questions:

• What is gender budgeting?
• What are practical examples of gender budgeting?
• How can gender budgeting be implemented in a European setting?

Five academic and NGO speakers gave an encompassing presentation of gender budgeting as a tool for good governance. "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.

In all societies, access to resources, rights and power are still unequally distributed between women and men. All public policies play a role in contributing to achieving the goal of equality between women and men. In particular, a government's decision about how money is raised and spent can either widen or diminish the gap between the situation of women and men. Budgets transform 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 budgetary decisions are made.

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