What is gender budgeting and its pros and cons?

Mar 12, 2018 | 8 months ago | Read Time: 2 minutes | By iKnowledge Team

The national budget affects both men and women differently. The allocation of resources and opportunities vary between these two sexes. Hence, gender budgeting is the process of preparing budgets by analysing gender inequality, hierarchies, and salary discrepancies between men and women. This way, the benefits of nation’s development reach women and men equally.

Women are the backbone of the nation, but no amount of lip-service has helped bridge the gap between men and women in terms of gender equality.

A lot of what we take for granted is rooted in gender inequality. Take the national budgets for instance. Women represent 48% of the nation. Yet, they are way behind on many avenues such as health, economic opportunities and education. The labour force too is decreasing. From 37% in 2004-05, the female participation in the workforce has come down to 26.7% in 2016. In addition, women in India earn 57% less of what their male counterparts earn for performing the same work. This Women’s Day, let’s understand why many countries have realised that the importance of gender budgeting, and strive to bring about a real change when it comes to women empowerment:

Merits and demerit of gender budgeting:

Merits

  • Greater participation of women in the economy

Currently, only 27% of Indian women are employed in the labour force. This is the lowest level of female employment in South Asia after Pakistan. A conscious effort to increase these levels through government policy can help increase the participation of women in the economy.

  • Female empowerment

In India, it is expected of a man to have a job and earn money. But for women, it is a different gameplay altogether. There are so many social and economic constraints. Increase in allocation of resources and opportunities can greatly help women to discover their life goals and explore them.

  • GDP boost

Equal representation of women and men in the workforce can have a great positive impact on the economy too. According to the International Monetary Fund, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in India could be boosted by 27% if women had the same opportunities as men.

Demerits

  • Complex process

Gender budgeting is a complex process that aims to restructure the existing social, political and economic mechanisms of the country. Since, the inclusion of a gender budgeting statement in 2005, India has taken many steps towards equality. However, this hasn’t been without problems. For example, the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) was given 100% allocation for women. However, this scheme benefited both male and female children. Errors like this were spotted and corrected only later.

Conclusion

Gender budgeting may be complex but it is necessary for these actions to take place to increase gender responsiveness of the central government. India as a nation is taking the steps to achieve gender equality but there is still a long way to go.


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