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Accounting for women in national plans and budgets

Commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment mean little without adequate planning and investment to turn promises into action. Deficits in funding are typically wide, however, while national plans overlook opportunities for advancement. UN Women provides knowledge and tools, and fosters national dialogues to make plans and budgets do more for women. In 2014, we engaged with 73 countries, strengthening gender equality priorities at the national and local levels.

Gender-responsive budgeting

Gender-responsive budgeting was not well known in Jordan, until the 2013 budget circular required all ministry plans and budgets to include a gender dimension-a move advocated by UN Women. The next step was implementation. Working closely with the National Women's Commission and the General Budget Department, we helped teach staff in key ministries how to move forward.

Though I did most of the farm work, I was never seen as a farmer. [Today,] to be recognised [as a farmer] is an accomplishment in itself.

Azunga Pongan, beneficiary of a gender-responsive budgeting scheme, Chuchuyimpang Village, Mokokchung, Nagaland

National planning

Integrating gender equality considerations across all national plans and programmes means that services will reach women and respond to their specific needs. In India, UN Women helped the Ministry of Rural Development to insert comprehensive provisions in five flagship national economic empowerment programmes, covering core issues such as rural livelihoods, employment, social protection and housing. The schemes cover 35 states and union territories, and in 2014-2015 generated nearly 1 billion days of labour for rural women, and ensured that over a million homes were registered in women's names.

“It takes the combined outrage of media, civil society, the various religious faiths, educational institutions, and the ordinary citizens to push government to do the right thing.”

Leonor Briones: A passionate advocate for public funds for social goods

Leonor Magtolis Briones has spent her life making sure that public funds produce public benefits. A former National Treasurer of the Philippines, she is today a distinguished professor and head convener of Social Watch Philippines.

Under her leadership, the group has mobilized in the streets, lobbied parliamentarians and used access to information laws to uncover hundreds of millions of dollars in pork barrel funds. Proper oversight means steering these to programmes that serve the greater good, such as by providing better health care and education.

Briones, well-known for her comprehensive insights into public finance and passionate commitment to good governance, believes the budget is the Philippines' most powerful tool in the face of many challenges. UN Women concurs, having supported a gender-budget exercise that helped more than double funds for gender and development programmes, from US$1.3 billion in 2013 to US$3.3 billion in 2014.