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Gender Budgetting and Women's Empowerment 1 by Prof. Vibhuti Patel

Subject:Women Studies/Gender Studies Paper: Women and economics
gender relations through reduction of gender gap in the development process. It can help to reduce economic inequalities, between men and women as well as between the rich and the poor Hence, the budgetary policies need to keep into considerations the gender dynamics operating in the economy and in the civil society. There is a need to highlight participatory approaches bottom up budget, child budget, green budgeting, local and global implications of pro-poor and pro-women budgeting and inter-linkages between gender-sensitive budgeting and women’s empowerment. Understanding the relationship between macroeconomic policies and the Union Budget, state budgets and the local self government institutions in the context of economic reforms and globalization is a MUST as it has influenced women’s lives in several ways. It is good economic sense to make national budgets gender-sensitive, as this will enable more effective targeting of government expenditure to women specific activities and reduce inequitable consequences of previous fiscal policies. The Gender Budget Initiative is a policy framework, methodology and set of tools to assist governments to integrate a gender perspective into the budget as the main national plan of public expenditure. It also aims to facilitate attention to gender analysis in review of macroeconomic performance, ministerial budget preparations, parliamentary debate and mainstream media coverage. Budget impacts women’s lives in several ways. It directly promotes women’s development through allocation of budgetary funds for women’s programmes or reduces opportunities for empowerment of women through budgetary cuts.

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Comment by Prof. Vibhuti Patel on May 21, 2018 at 20:31

Gender budgeting is gaining increasing acceptance as a tool for engendering macroeconomic policy-making. The Fourth World Conference of Women held in Beijing in September 1995 and the Platform for Action that it adopted called for a gender perspective in all macroeconomic policies and their budgetary dimensions. The Outcome Document of the UN General Assembly Special Session on Women held in June 2000, also called upon all the Nations to mainstream a gender perspective into key macroeconomic and social development policies and national development programmes. Emphasis on gender budgeting was also placed by the Sixth Conference of Commonwealth Ministers of Women’s Affairs held in New Delhi in April 2000.
In India, till 2004, the process of gender budgeting was a post-facto effort to dissect/ analyse and thus offset any undesirable gender-specific consequences of the previous budget. But 2005 onwards, the scenario has changed. Due to consistent lobbying by the gender economists and women’s groups; for the first time, in 2005, the Ministry of Finance gave a mandate to all ministries to establish a Gender Budgeting Cell by January, 2005. At present, 54 ministries and departments have formed gender budget cells and have provided annual reports and performance budgets highlighting budgetary allocations for women. The first Gender Budgeting Statement (GBS) in the Union Budget 2005-06 included 10 demands of grants. In 2006-07, the GBS got expanded to 24 demands for grants under 18 ministries/ departments of the Union government and 5 Union Territories. During the current financial year, i.e. 2009-10, the GB Statements covered 34 demands for grants under 27 ministries/ departments and 5 Union Territories.

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