Gender Budgeting
March 21, 2017 6:54 AM   Subscribe

Why national budgets need to take gender into account - "The government does not set out to discriminate, says Diane Elson, the [Women's Budget Group]'s former chair. Rather, it overlooks its own bias because it does not take the trouble to assess how policies affect women. Government budgets are supposed to be 'gender-neutral'; in fact they are gender-ignorant. Ms Elson is one of the originators of a technique called 'gender budgeting'—in which governments analyse fiscal policy in terms of its differing effects on men and women. Gender budgeting identifies policies that are unequal as well as opportunities to spend money on helping women and which have a high return. Britain has declined to adopt the technique, but countries from Sweden to South Korea have taken it up."

Making women count
Gender budgeting is not new. Feminist economists have argued for it since the 1980s. A few countries, such as Australia and South Africa, took it up, though efforts waxed and waned with shifts in political leadership—it is seen as left-wing and anti-austerity. The Nordic countries were pioneers in the West; Sweden, with its self-declared “feminist government”, may be the gold standard. Now, egged on by the World Bank, the UN and the IMF, more governments are taking an interest. They should sign on as the results are worth having.

Partly because South Korea invested little in social care, women had to choose between having children, which lowers labour-force participation, or remaining childless, which reduces the country’s fertility rate. Gender budgeting showed how, with an ageing population, the country gained from spending on care. Rwanda found that investment in clean water not only curbed disease but also freed up girls, who used to fetch the stuff, to go to school. Ample research confirms that leaving half a country’s people behind is bad for growth. Violence against women; failing to educate girls properly; unequal pay and access to jobs: all take an economic toll.
also btw...
-On the ‘production boundary’: "This divides the activities included in GDP from those that are not. The theory is that GDP just includes monetary transactions at their exchange value. The practice is different... The consequence is that in the main figures we use to assess the health of the economy, businesses and governments are considered productive and households are not. Feminists have long disagreed, as women have mainly done household work. So indeed did Simon Kuznets... from his 1947 article in the Journal of Economic History, 'Measurement of Economic Growth:'"
[A]t least three major institutions are to be distinguished: the family, the business enterprise, and the state. Unless a measure of total output is to reflect the growth of a given institution alone, it obviously should include all economic production within the family, the business enterprise, and the state. Yet most measures of national income note only market-bound output, including almost all state production but omitting large portions of productive activity which, not being market-bound and forming an integral part of family life, are not considered properly economic. There is a definite choice here between totals more comprehensive but less homogeneous and those less comprehensive but more homogeneous.

However unimportant this difficulty may appear for short-term studies, in the long periods implied in measuring economic growth the problem is of too large a magnitude to be dismissed easily. Such long periods are characterized by important shifts in the weights of these different institutions, and reducing the scope of measurement will necessarily produce a substantial bias.
-Stop squandering women's potential
-Kickstarter is teaching the tech world the meaning of gender equity and fair pay
posted by kliuless (5 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
This week, Canada's Liberal government is set to release it's second budget. For the first time, the Finance department will include with it a 'rigorous' gender-based analysis for budget measures.
posted by Kabanos at 7:22 AM on March 21, 2017 [2 favorites]

I can't wait to dig in on this, especially the one on GDP. Some government person was going on about "boosting productivity" and I was shouting back at the radio that no one's knows what this means! It's a dogwhistle! What about wages?! What about non-working parents or the under-employed?! I don't know the answer to these things. Thanks for this post!
posted by amanda at 7:32 AM on March 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

there goes my morning. thanks for the post!
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:11 AM on March 21, 2017

What's the Value of US Household Production?
posted by kliuless at 10:04 PM on March 22, 2017

Crunch the data and take action on gender equality
Harassment and overt discrimination are now the exception rather than the norm. Managers are increasingly aware of the pitfalls of unconscious bias. Yet in a sector such as financial services, where companies have ploughed money into diversity training and other initiatives, data collected by the Financial Times for a series on gender equality shows progress has been incremental.

The obstacles are well known. There is a dearth of female applicants for technical roles, reflecting the lack of women studying for science, engineering and IT qualifications. At senior levels, it remains difficult to combine a career with flexible working. Lower down the hierarchy, childcare costs are often incompatible with salaries.

Yet the policies required to overcome these obstacles are also increasingly well understood. The question is whether companies and governments will consider it enough of a priority. 

The causes and remedies of gender inequality will vary from one organisation to another, however. That is why there is a strong case for collecting and reporting detailed data on pay, including bonuses — as will be mandatory for larger UK companies from this week. The value lies not so much in shaming companies into action (although that may in a few cases be a happy consequence) but in helping them identity the most effective steps to take.
posted by kliuless at 5:21 PM on April 11, 2017

« Older Reuniting the lost sheep   |   Head-mould-shot Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments