Community members in Yefag kebele explain how they practice gender-responsive budgeting to a group of newly trained governmental officials from different districts across Ethiopia. Photo: UN Women/Kristin Ivarsson

Community members in Yefag kebele explain how they practice gender-responsive budgeting to a group of newly trained governmental officials from different districts across Ethiopia. Photo: UN Women/Kristin Ivarsson

Planning and Budgeting to Close the Gender Gap

Progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment largely depends on making the right plans and investments. Both national and local development plans must adopt gender equality as a central goal backed by specific actions to achieve it. Financing needs to be sufficient to implement plans and, more generally, to uphold the rights of women and girls to have public services that fully respond to their needs.

With UN Women’s sustained support, dozens of countries have begun to dramatically improve their track record in planning and spending to reach gender equality. We work with national officials to develop technical tools such as gender markers and with women’s advocates to keep attention trained on women’s top priorities. We support greater transparency so that countries can track whether or not funds and plans reach intended aims and women can hold governments accountable for the commitments they make.

Maria Rosa Suquilanda sells her produce at the Agro Entrepreneurs Market in Cuenca, Ecuador. Photo: Courtesy of Agro Azuay
Maria Rosa Suquilanda sells her produce at the Agro Entrepreneurs Market in Cuenca, Ecuador. Photo: Courtesy of Agro Azuay

Tracking spending to achieve equality in Ecuador

María Rosa Suquilanda used to struggle on the margins of bare subsistence. When she went to public spaces to sell her produce, authorities would push her away and destroy her goods because she lacked the right permits. But no more. Today, she and other women like her operate in the well-organized Agro Entrepreneurs Market, in the city of Cuenca, nestled high in the mountains of southern Ecuador. “We can go to market because the provincial government gave us spaces to sell our produce,” she says, standing proudly amid piles of maize, beans, peas and fresh vegetables.

Women performing local dance at UNSCR 15th Anniversary event in Northern Uganda, 2015. Photo: Claire Hawkins/UN Women
Women performing local dance at UNSCR 15th Anniversary event in Northern Uganda, 2015. Photo: Claire Hawkins/UN Women

Requiring a gender-responsive budget

Gender-responsive budgeting in Uganda took a leap forward through the 2015 Public Finance Management Act. It stipulates a mandatory Gender and Equity Certificate—each government agency at the national and district levels must obtain it for their annual budgets. The certificate judges whether or not budgets have paid adequate attention to gender equality, using a set of performance measures and minimum standards. Budgets that fall short must be revised in order to obtain the certificate and be approved by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. Among other benefits, the certificate will allow legislators to systematically hold government agencies accountable for their record of support for gender equality and women’s empowerment.

31

countries have increased budget allocations for gender equality commitments

nearly

15,000

civil servants have been trained on gender mainstreaming and gender issues

Indonesian volunteers light candles during World AIDS Day in Jakarta. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images
Indonesian volunteers light candles during World AIDS Day in Jakarta. Photo: Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images

Incorporating women’s rights into AIDS strategies

In Indonesia, UN Women helped support the review of the national AIDS strategy to strengthen the incorporation of women’s rights. Our assistance included forming a Gender Forum that brought together diverse groups: women living with HIV, women injecting drug users, female sex workers, transgender people and men having sex with men.

We commend the work of UN Women in our region. Women in the Pacific region continue to face unacceptable levels of violence, low rates of political representation and barriers to their economic participation. UN Women’s (…) efforts at the normative and program level are making a real difference to women’s lives.

Statement from Australia, UN Women Executive Board Annual Session, 30 June 2015
In Ramallah, 8 March 2015, celebrations of International Women’s Day included dance performances among other events. Photo: UN Women/Cindy Thai Thien Nghia
In Ramallah on 8 March 2015, celebrations of International Women’s Day included dance performances among other events. Photo: UN Women/Cindy Thai Thien Nghia

Monitoring international development assistance

The integration of gender equality into the national development plan of the State of Palestine led to the first national marker to monitor the gender responsiveness of international development assistance. Today, the Government can accurately gauge how much assistance flows into gender interventions and for which activities.

Equal Half: Gender Responsive Budgeting and Planning in India

Pelin Aslantaş, 43, is the only female bus driver in the city of Edirne, Turkey. Photo: UN Women Gizem Yarbil

Photo: UN Women/Gizem Yarbil

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities Pelin Aslantaş, 43, is the only female bus driver in the city of Edirne, Turkey. Edirne was one of the 11 pilot municipalities in Turkey where UN Women provided training in gender-responsive budgeting (GRB). As a result, women bus drivers were recruited for Edirne’s public transport system for the first time. Edirne also enacted legislation encouraging women to participate in this sector. UN Women’s work on GRB in Turkey is geared towards achieving SDG 8, which promotes sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; and on SDG 11, focused on making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, including by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of women.

Pelin Aslantaş: “ I am the only woman bus driver in the city, among 202 men drivers. ”

“I am the only woman bus driver in the city, among 202 men drivers. I’ve always wanted to drive big vehicles. I learned how to drive when I was 10 with my father’s four-wheel-drive, but it was my mother who taught me how to drive.

One day, my son noticed the municipality’s online call for applications for women bus drivers. I was very interested but I had to get a special license for public transportation which is 10 times more difficult than getting a regular driver’s license. My male colleagues were taken aback by me in the beginning. They started a rumour among themselves that I would have an accident or would quit in no time. But after a while they became convinced that I’m a good driver.

This is an incredibly demanding job. We work very long hours and have only one day off. For my male colleagues, their work ends here and when they go home, they can rest. But when I arrive at home, I wash my hands and head straight to the kitchen. I feel like I’m resting more in the bus while driving.

I love what I’m doing, it would have been impossible to do this job otherwise. My only rule in life is to continue what I start. I’m not a quitter, and I will go on doing my job for as long as I can.”

AR FPI