Effective gender budgeting can bring transformational change with social, economic and wellbeing benefits for all.
Every year, the Government releases a Budget, in which it outlines its economic policies and spending plans. The Budget is both a process and a product.
Government budgets can be looked at through many viewpoints and perspectives to understand their impacts on people. One tool to ensure funding and policy decisions positively impact women and girls and work towards achieving gender equality is gender budgeting.
Gender budgeting is about ensuring that the different needs and experiences of women, men, and gender diverse people are considered in the budget process and in the allocation of funding and resources.
Gender budgeting is gaining momentum globally. Over 80 countries worldwide, including 60% of OECD countries and several APEC economies, have introduced some form of gender budgeting. It is also promoted as best practice to promote gender equality by international bodies including the OECD, United Nations, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Gender budgeting was a key recommendation for Aotearoa New Zealand to implement by the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
Gender budgeting can:
- Increase transparency and accountability of the gendered impacts of budget initiatives.
- Encourage equal access to opportunities, such as in education and employment for those that face additional barriers in society, including women and girls, Māori, Pacific, and sole parents.
- Elevate the needs of women and girls, leading to improved outcomes and advancing gender equality.
- Lead to greater economic gains by helping to close gender gaps and increase women’s participation in the labour market.
- Build capacity and capability across government agencies to undertake quality gender analysis.
- Promote an equity-based policy process that considers and addresses the needs of all people, throughout all stages of the policy process.
- Enhance the quality of policy advice and provide more information to decision makers.
- Helps agencies identify who and where support or interventions could be most effective.
- Support the collection of quality gender-disaggregated data to support the development and monitoring of initiatives and track progress towards gender equality.
- Help New Zealand fulfil its international human rights obligations, including under the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
2023 was the first year that a gender budgeting “snapshot”, which highlighted a range of initiatives that were identified as having direct positive impacts on women and girls, was featured in the Wellbeing Budget document.
Our work on gender budgeting
Manatū Wāhine Ministry for Women and Te Tai Ōhanga The Treasury introduced gender budgeting in 2021, first through a Pilot programme for Budget 2022, then followed by an expanded Gender Budgeting Exercise for Budget 2023.
There are many ways to do gender budgeting. The most common way to do this is through a “gender impact assessment”, which is the current approach used here in New Zealand. Gender impact assessments take place before the Budget is approved and resources are allocated, which encourages agencies to fully consider the different needs of the targeted population (such as on women and girls) so resources can be allocated where they are needed most.
For Budget 2022, Manatū Wāhine and Te Tai Ōhanga The Treasury ran a Pilot programme with six government agencies who were required to complete a Gender Impact Assessment across 19 initiatives. This required agencies to apply a gender lens to their initiatives and consider the impacts on different groups of women and girls, in particular wāhine and kōtiro Māori.
The Pilot found that:
- All initiatives would have an impact on women and girls, and nearly half of the initiatives would have a positive impact for women and girls.
- Nearly all (94%) of initiatives would have an impact on wāhine Māori, and over half would have a positive impact.
- 11 initiatives identified specific groups of women and girls that would be targeted – the majority of these (eight initiatives) would improve outcomes Pacific women and girls, and six initiatives would have a positive impact.
Following the Budget 2022 Pilot, the Gender Budgeting Exercise was expanded for the 2023 Budget cycle to include 15 government agencies across 27 Budget initiatives. In addition, several other agencies voluntarily conducted a gender analysis to consider their initiatives’ impacts on women and girls. Over 100 initiatives in the Budget 2023 cycle included a gender lens in their initiatives.
Manatū Wāhine supported agencies to identify the gendered impacts of initiatives on women and girls, through group training workshops, one-on-one support, a peer-review service, and by providing additional guidance and resources such as the Bringing Gender In tool.
If you are interested in hearing more about gender budgeting, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are initiatives in Budget 2022 and Budget 2023 that have an impact on women and girls, but were not part of the Gender Budgeting Pilot or Exercise. It is also not a given that proposed initiatives that undertake a gender impact assessment as part of the Budget process are guaranteed to be approved and funded by the Government.