In AER, the topic of Equal Opportunities is mainstreamed across the thematic work in the Committees.This is an opportunity to engage in mutual learning, share challenges and celebrate good practice. One of the topics, which was addressed on the occasion of the AER events on Equal Opportunities was gender budgeting, a practice which has been successfully implemented in Vojvodina.
What is gender budgeting?
The European Institute for Gender Equality, which has also repeatedly contributed to the work on Equal Opportunities in AER, defines gender budgeting as a gender-based assessment of budgets, incorporating a gender perspective at all levels of the budgetary process, and restructuring revenues and expenditures in order to promote gender equality.
The Autonomous Province of Vojvodina strives to contribute to strategic gender mainstreaming of public policies and intensifying the inclusion of institutions and civil society organizations in the creation of gender – sensitive programs. The region also highly supports the integration of a gender perspective into budget planning and distribution and works to improve the transparency of the budgetary process in general.
Benefits for all citizens
The concrete benefits of these reforms for all citizens, both women and men, include:
- Clear recognition of the concrete needs of both women and men, especially those from vulnerable groups
- Decreasing gender inequality
- Social and economic empowerment of women
- Balanced economic and social development
- Better quality of life of all citizens
Gender budgeting, a long-term public policy instrument
Ana Tomanova Makanova, AER Vice President for Equal Opportunities, explains “the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina has undertaken pioneer steps in the field of mainstreaming gender with the use of gender budgeting as a tool to assess the impact of programs on women and men”. The long-term vision is that gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting must become a regular practice of the provincial administration. This will be implemented by trained civil servants who will have full political support of their superiors.
Gender-responsive budgeting is a key public policy instrument to advance substantive equality between women and men. It is also an indicator of government commitment to women’s rights and gender equality. Moreover it is one of the most effective ways to accelerate progress towards equitable societies.
Fostering gender budgeting through definite projects
AP Vojvodina has implemented the project “Towards Gender Budgeting in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina” from 2008. to 2011. This was one of the first projects dealing with the issue of gender budgeting within the framework of public administrations, and one of the first ones in South Eastern Europe.
The project focused on determining the gender impact of provincial bodies’ support programs in the field of employment. Additionally, it developed recommendations for the programs’ improvement in the aspect of gender equality. The Government of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina adopted these recommendations in August 2009, as well as the conclusion referring to the gender mainstreaming of provincial programs, projects and activities. The governement keeps gender disaggregated records of program beneficiaries and also adopted a strategic approach in this field.
Since the implementation of the project “Towards Gender Budgeting in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina”, Vojvodina has been actively using gender budgeting and gender mainstreaming in all public policies.
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