SEARCH SITE:

HOME

NEW ARTICLES

Analysis
Teaching Peace from Tales of the City: Peace Education through the Memoryscapes of Nagasaki Patporn Phoothong
Special Report
Reflections of Refugees in Africa Wyclife Ong'eta Mose
Feature
Freedom of Expression Under Threat in Zambia Mariateresa Garrido
Essay
Women’s Political Representation in Sri Lanka: Leading towards Prosperity or Peril Pujika Rathnayake
Comment
The political Crisis of the 2017 Honduran Election Daniel Bagheri S.
Letters
Notes On A Controversy Amardo Rodriguez

RECENT ARTICLES
Analysis
The Unraveled and Disquieting Human Rights Violation of Afghanistan Priya Pandey
Special Report
Nepal's recovery process since the 2015 earthquake Jini Agrawal
In-depth
Challenges and prospects of AU to implement the Ezulwini Consensus: The case of collective security and the use of force Tunamsifu Shirambere Philippe
Policy
The Right to Food Shant Melkonian
Feature
Land of the Golden Pagodas: Checking in on Myanmar’s Peace Process Monica Paniagua
Interview
Douglas Janoff on LGBTQIA Human Rights Luciana Téllez
Essay
Common Things: Communication, Community, Communal Peacebuilding Lina Patricia Forero Martínez
Comment
Periodismo Ciudadano e Internet Gina Paola Parra
Research Summary
Water Security in the Sixaola River Basin Adrián Martinez Blanco and Diana Ubico Durán
Poetry
Reborn Arunima Chouguley
Letters
An Open Letter to the American People: Political Responsibility in the Nuclear Age Richard Falk, David Krieger, and Robert Laney

ARCHIVES

Analysis
Last Updated: 08/24/2012
Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiative (GRBI) in Pakistan: Needs, Initiatives and Challenges - A Contextual Analysis
Dr. Shahbaz Israr Khan

Dr. Shahbaz Israr Khan examines the ways in which gender-neutral approaches to budgeting are highly discriminatory against woman, especially in neoliberal economies and the globalized world context. He concludes that in a highly patriarchal environment, gender neutral budgets, without assessing their implications for women, men, boys and girls, can have a very negative impact on the society and especially on women's lives. The paper presents needs, initiatives and challenges of Gender Budget Initiatives, and also addresses the issues related to the Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiative in Pakistan.


Shahbaz Israr Khan

A gender neutral approach in budgeting is highly discriminatory against woman especially in neoliberal economies and the globalized world context. Neoliberal and neoclassical approaches do not take into consideration the unpaid work of woman and place it at the micro level, as the assumption is that house hold work is the choice of woman and that they do it voluntarily and rationally. Such approaches further miss the link between household economy and the macro economy of the country. Moreover, in a highly patriarchal environment, gender neutral budgets, without addressing their implications for women, men, boys and girls, can have a very negative impact on the society and especially on women’s lives. The paper presents needs, initiatives and challenges of gender budget initiatives. The paper also addresses the issues of the Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiative in Pakistan.

Introduction

Woman is portrayed as weak, submissive and as the ‘other’ in male-biased knowledge, which is produced and reproduced on the basis of andocentric assumptions, thus leading to exclusion and hierarchies within gender relations. This is perpetuated and revealed in intrapsychic, educational, social, historical and political relations, which leads to dire consequences.[1] Such exclusions and hierarchies can be observed in capitalistic institutions where development has differential impact on men and women as a result of division of labor based on asymmetric gender relations[2]. Specifically in neo-liberal economies the implication of economic policies of government for macroeconomic stabilization is usually undertaken by cuts in government spending on social programs, privatization of public services and market liberalization policies such as trade liberalization, financial liberalization, labor market deregulation and capital account liberalization, which lead to increased pressure on the poor and especially on women.

The macroeconomic policies described above have a greater impact on women as compared to men as men control more capital as compared to women, and most of the household work performed by women remains invisible in macroeconomic analysis and policy making. For instance, cuts on spending on clean water provision by the government might lead to more work for women, as in most of the third world countries it is the responsibility of women and girls to fetch water. [3] The current economic systems, based on neo-classical and neo-liberal theories, have deepened the dichotomy between the formal and informal economy that has pushed woman to the micro level of the economy where her work is considered an efficient but costless operation. The neo-classical approach assumes that women’s work is a rational and voluntary decision. Moreover, such assumptions are inherently prejudiced and flawed in their nature as they fail to connect and relate the macro-economy with the household economy. Similarly, women’s unpaid household work actually holds a lion’s share at the macro-level, but it is always neglected[4] as Sally Baden remarks: “The macro-economy is itself benefiting from provision of public good; it’s a ‘free rider’ at the expense of women, who are major unpaid force in the labor market[5].” Social and gender constructions and the ‘masculine organization of time’ create an environment which requires women to be multi-taskers and perform more work as compared to men[6]. Moreover, the exploitation of women increases for a housewife as she performs tasks like cooking, dishwashing, housecleaning, laundry work, child care, and a "personal relations" component[7], while her services are devalued in the market and are given no or less importance.

Carmen and Cynthia document the unpaid work and time of women as follows:

“For wives who are employed outside the home, the “double day” – that is, a paid work day and an unpaid work day at home – is the norm and time inequalities between husbands and wives are greatest. Wives employed outside the home have the longest workweeks, paid work and household work combined. For example, in a recent study of 1,500 employees in two companies, the combined time spent on work, home chores, and child care in a week was, on average, 84 hours for married mothers, 79 hours for unmarried mothers, and 72 hours for fathers, married or unmarried (Diane S. Burden and Bradley Googins 1987, as cited in Marianne Ferber and Brigid O’Farrell with La Rue Allen 1991: 43). While employed wives cut back – by approximately one-third according to Robinson and Godbey’s survey (1997: 102) – on the amount of time spent in household labor compared to their nonemployed counterparts, the number of tasks they perform reveals a certain “lumpiness” that prevents a reduction commensurate with their increased market time. Thus there is an asymmetric link between domestic and market labors: an increase in the total number of household tasks leads to a decrease in the total number of the household’s employment hours, but not the reverse[8].”

The above discussion reflects that the social organization of time, which highly discriminates against women, brings the debate to the realm of feminist politics of time and a critical examination of household labor-time, and also brings the masculine models of career and non-career models under question. Moreover, in the economic structures, family should not be placed at the micro level, as placing family at the micro level increases the probability of exploitation of women’s labor and keeps it invisible[9].

Gender Budgeting

Government budgets can be an important tool for promoting gender equity and equality. The way that governments raise and spend money has the potential to reduce the inequalities that occur in families, communities, markets and businesses; or to amplify them. But unfortunately, budgets are gender neutral documents. Budget documents deal in numbers, not people. However, gathering and preparing this fuel is disproportionately done by women, who pay an invisible price in terms of additional workload. If the state introduces policies that increase the direct costs to families of sending their children to school (such as introduction of school fees), then families will prioritize educating sons over educating daughters and there will be a disproportionate, negative impact on the education of girls. If a rise in VAT leads to a rise in the price of commercial fuels used for cooking (like kerosene), then there is likely to be a disproportionate effect on women. Poor families are likely to reduce their purchase of commercial fuel and make more use of fuels they can acquire without monetary payment from the subsistence economy, such as animal dung and wood[10].

Feminists have been challenging the epistemology and the discourse of ‘accepted knowledge’ in which gender issues were either excluded or were based on andocentric assumptions. Postmodernism and feminism are deconstructing the preconceived notions and assumptions, and similar efforts are being made to transform economics and engender theory and policy, which has an impact on shifting the issue of women from microeconomics to macroeconomic issues. One of the keys to challenging the gender blind and gender neutral macroeconomics theorizing and policy-making is gender budgeting[11]. Gender Budgeting or Gender Responsive Budgeting is a process that aims to mainstream gender into various stages of the budget cycle. So gender sensitive/responsive budgets are not separate budgets for women but are a process to make government budget planning, execution, monitoring and evaluation be done in a gender sensitive manner. GRB’s goal is to encompass a wider spectrum of economic reform[12]. For macro-economic policy reform, in order to remove the male bias, the targets for macroeconomic aggregates, human development aggregates and policy instruments should be included. The relationship between targets and the instruments should be included in gender-disaggregated terms that specifically recognize inputs of unpaid labor[13].

Gender Responsive Budgeting Goals

The above diagram shows that Gender Responsive budgeting is not only beneficial to females but also to males and to the whole system, as it takes the holistic picture of society and incorporates the element of gender equity, gender equality, poverty alleviation, good governance, accountability, and transparency, and thus leads to economic efficacy.

Gender Responsive Budget Initiatives (GRBI)

The first gender budget initiative was implemented in Australia in 1987 when a women’s budget statement was issued for the first time as part of the federal budget papers[14]. They had three goals: to raise awareness within government of the gender impact of the budget and the polices funded; to make governments accountable for their commitments to gender equality; and to bring about changes to budgets and the policies they fund to improve the socio-economic status of women[15]. Some of these goals were successful, and one of the most successful initiatives was to replace tax rebates to men for dependent spouses with cash payments for child-care responsibilities to the full-time care givers. Women benefited from this initiative[16]. In 1989, a group of feminist academics and activists organized a Woman’s Budget Group for lobbying and analysis of UK economic policies on women[17], which was able to influence the UK treasury over the design of the Child Care Tax (Article, 12).

GRBI initiatives are taken by South Africa, Tanzania and many other countries. By 2002, up to 50 countries in all parts of the world, North as well as South, had incorporated some kind of gender budget initiative[18].

Situation Analysis and Need for Gender Budgeting in Pakistan

Pakistan is a male dominant society and is passing through the wave of terrorism and extremism. During the year 2010 alone, the provisional and newspaper data indicates that there were 473 incidences of bomb blasts in Pakistan, killing 1547 and injuring 3581 persons. In that year, the fatalities in terrorist violence reached 7435 people, which included 1796 civilians, 469 security force personnel and 5170 terrorists/insurgents. More than 35,648 people lost their lives from 2003 to July 2011.[19] It is evident and to no wonder that the most affected segment of the society is women. Moreover, a large number of women migrated as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) because of flooding and fighting between the insurgents and the Pakistani army.

In this dismal situation Pakistan is also experiencing a socio-economic crisis. The country’s Human Development Index (0.504) ranking is 145[20] with a very low Gender Development Index (0.721), which indicates the negative human development impact of deep social and economic disparities between men and women in Pakistan. The following table elaborates socio-economic disparities between the female and male population in Pakistan and also the budget priorities.

Gender Responsive

The high male percentage in Pakistan shows the pattern of son preference, which might imply, although this is not a well-researched area, that female infanticide is practiced in the country. [21] Similarly, the female unemployment rate is higher as compared to that of men and also females occupy a smaller share in the labor force. It may also imply that women are placed in the informal/household economy where their work is not counted in the macro-economy of the country. The above data also shows less access of female youth to education and also a higher mortality rate during delivery. Women in the parliament are still less than 30%, and still the country needs equity along with equality efforts. Given these high socio-economic disparities, there is dire need to introduce and implement gender budgeting in Pakistan, so that gender discrimination can be addressed.

Gender Responsive Budget Initiative in Pakistan

There are various documents but little on-the-ground work being done in Pakistan that advocates for gender equity and equality. One of the documents is the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). The PRSP document of December 2003 reads as follows ( paragraph 6.5):

“In the longer term, the government will support the use of gender responsive budgeting (GRB) in analyzing the federal, provincial, and district government budgets to determine the extent to which resources are allocated to address gender inequality and impact of budgetary expenditures on different gender groups. It, however, does not construe separate budgets for women. The Government aims at launching a pilot study with the assistance of donors for post budget analysis, to begin with, or education sector at the federal, one province, and two districts (rural and urban). Gradually, the institutional mechanism is likely to be in place on successful completion of the study. This will not only facilitate in improving women’s status but also will introduce allocation efficiencies and contribute to national, social and economic development of the country. In addition, GRB can be help in measuring progress on national and international gender related commitments”.

As noted in the fifth line, GRB is not about constructing separate budgets for women, or separate budgets with ‘gender’ allocations. Instead, GRB involves examining all aspects of the budget and the policies and programs that underlie them to ensure that the budgets and policies promote gender equity. GRB is thus similar in many ways to the Medium Term Budget Framework (MTBF) approach, which the Government of Pakistan (GoP) is currently introducing at federal and provincial levels. [22]

Pakistan started the Gender Responsive Budget Initiative (GRBI) in 2005 in a project with UNDP (Pakistan) and its cost sharing donors the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Royal Norwegian Embassy at the federal level in the province of Punjab. One of the districts selected in the project is the poorest and the other one is the richest district of the province. Project management units are installed in the federal Ministry of Finance and at the provincial level in the Finance Department. For the first year, GRBI is focused on the Punjab and Federal Budgets in three sectors: Education, Health and Population Welfare. The tools used in the process are Gender-Aware Policy Appraisal; Gender-Aware Benefit Incidence Analysis; Gender-Aware Beneficiary Assessments; Gender-Aware Public Expenditure Tracking; Gender-Disaggregated Analysis of the Impact of Budget in Time Use; Gender-Aware Revenue Incidence Analysis; and Gender Budget Statement. The main stages included in the project are: Awareness Raising and Census Building; Training on Gender Budgeting for Stakeholders; Gender Analysis of Priority Sector; Review of the Research; and Advocacy.

Challenges to GRB in Pakistan

1) The roles and responsibilities of the Ministry of Women’s Development, Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Development Department are not clear.

2) There is a lack of coordination between the government institutions, leading to poor planning and implementation of policies.

3) No funds have been allocated by the government for NGOs to work. Most of the NGOs cannot run GRB related projects because of the lack of resources. It is an impending factor for the pace of the project, as it will block the way for ‘the triangle of players’: progressive elected politicians; effective government institutions staffed with well-trained officials; and active and well-informed coalitions of NGOs[23].

4) As GRB is a new topic of discussion in Pakistan, it thus has very few experts and trainers.

5) Gender Post Budget analyses are still missing.

6) The government is too slow to adopt gender responsive budgeting[24]. Still the budget is gender neutral. Gender neutral means it is discriminatory against women in Pakistan.

7) At present, women are making a substantial contribution to the economy and society, especially through their contribution in bearing, rearing and caring for the children and adults in the society. However, much of this ‘production’ occurs in the home and is unpaid. It is therefore often not recognized as production, despite the fact that it is recognized as such in the System of National Accounts[25].

8) In PRS, many of the indicators related to the social sector are disaggregated by sex. There is no gender disaggregation and no gender indicators among the limited indicators proposed in respect to the macro-economy, poverty and employment. This pattern of indicators will give a skewed picture of Pakistan’s achievements in regards to the PRS, as well as a skewed picture in terms of achievement of gender equity and women’s empowerment[26].

Conclusion

There is greater need to extensively advocate for the incorporation of the micro-level (household) into the meso-level of the economy so that the dichotomy of the formal and informal economy can be deconstructed, and consequently women’s unpaid work (household) can be included into the formal economy, and not in the informal or voluntary work of the country. Secondly, GRBI is an important move for gender equality and equity, but the process is very slow and still the budget of Pakistan is gender neutral: it counts numbers and figures but does not take into consideration the impact of policies and programs on the lives of women, men, girls and boys. Actually, the gender neutral approach has proved to be discriminatory in male-biased systems and has a negative impact on the lives of women and girls in Pakistan. Still, the country is unable to include the informal or unpaid economy in MDTF or the annual budgets. Most of the parliamentarians, bureaucrats and policymakers are still not gender sensitive, which is also a barrier in achieving the goal of gender budgeting in Pakistan.

Bibliography

Baden, Sally and Alexander, Patricia. “Glossary on Macroeconomics from a Gender Perspective” Bridge and GTZ, pp. 19-30, February 2000.

Baden, Sally and Alexander, Patricia. “Glossary on Macroeconomics from a Gender Perspective” op cit. 3.

Lourdes. “Towards a Greater Integration of Gender in Economics” World Development, Vol 23, No 11, pp. 1839-1850, 1995.

Lourdes. “Towards a Greater Integration of Gender in Economics” World Development, Vol 23, No 11, pp. 1839-1850, 1995.

Bergmann, Barbara, R. “The Economic Risks of Being a Housewife,” the microeconomic review, Vol 71 NO 2, May 1981.

Budlender, Debbie and Guy Hewitt (eds.). Gender Budgets Make More Cents. London: Commonwealth Secretariat, 2002.

Budlender, Debbie. “A Global Assessment of Gender Responsive Budget Initiatives”, in Budlender op cit. pp. 83-164, 2002.

Budlenger, Debbie. “How Gender Responsive Budgeting Can Contribute to PRSP?” Government of Pakistan, Finance Division, Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiative (GRBI), 2006.

Cagatay, Nilufer. “Gender Budget and Beyond: Female Fiscal Policy in Context of Globalization” Gender and Development, Vol. 11, NO. 1, May 2003.

Debbie, Bublender, Mahubub, Nadeem. “ Gender Responsive Budgeting in Pakistan: Experience and Lesson Learnt”, November 2007.

Elson, Dian. “Engendering of Government Budgets in the Context of Globalization(s)” University of Utah, Department of Economics, p.8, Working Paper NO 204-2.

Elson, Dian. “Engendering of Government Budgets in the Context of Globalization(s)” University of Utah, Department of Economics, Working Paper NO 204-2.

Gender and Economic Development, The Work of Diane Elson, Rotterdam, pp.22,23 1998.

Government of Pakistan, Finance Division and UNDP (Pakistan), Strengthening Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) Monitoring Project, “Gender Responsive Budgeting in Pakistan An Evolutionary Process.” November 2008.

Government of Pakistan, Finance Division and UNDP (Pakistan), Strengthening Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) Monitoring Project, “Gender Responsive Budgeting in Pakistan An Evolutionary Process.” November 2008

Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Finance, “Economic Survey of Pakistan 2011” accessed at http://www.finance.gov.pk/survey_0910.html , April 2012

Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Finance, “Economic Survey of Pakistan 2011” op. cit 16

Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Finance, “Economic Survey of Pakistan 2011” op. cit 16

Hudson, Valerie, M. and Boer, Andera M. den, “Bare Branches-The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population” The MIT Press, London, p.54, 2005

Khan, Raja, Muhammad. “ Pakistan Inside the Military Budget” June, 2011, accessed at: http://www.defence.pk/forums/pakistan-defence-industry/112938-pakistan-inside-military-budget.html, April 2012.

Minnich, Elizabeth. “Transforming Knowledge” , Philadelph~a. PA: Temple University Press. 1990

Sawer, Marian. “Australia; The mandarin approach to gender budgets” in Budlender and Hewitt (eds.), pp.43-64, 2002.

Sharp, Rhonda and Ray Broomhill. “Budgeting for Equality: The Australian Experience”, Feminist Economics 8(1), 2002.

Sirianni, Carmen and Negrey, Cynthia, “Working Time as Gendered Time” Routledge, Feminists Economics 6(1), 2000,59-76.

Sirianni, Carmen and Negrey, Cynthia, “Working Time as Gendered Time” op cit. 16, p. 62.

South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP: Available at their Website - http://www.satp.org/)

Hill, Donna. “The United Kingdom: A focus on taxes and benefits”, in Budlender and Hewitt (eds.) op.cit. pp.171-192, 2002.

UNDP, “Country Profile, Pakistan, International Human Development Indicators” accessed at http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/PAK.html, April 2012

UNDP, “Country Profile, Pakistan, International Human Development Indicators” op.cit 14

UNDP, “Country Profile, Pakistan, International Human Development Indicators” op.cit 14


Notes:

[1] Minnich, Elizabeth. “Transforming Knowledge” , Philadelph~a. PA: Temple University Press. 1990

[2]Lourdes. “Towards a Greater Integration of Gender in Economics” World Development, Vol 23, No 11, pp. 1839-1850, 1995.

[3] Cagatay, Nilufer. “Gender Budget and Beyond: Female Fiscal Policy in Context of Globalization” Gender and Development, Vol. 11, NO. 1, May 2003.

[4] Baden, Sally and Alexander, Patricia. “Glossary on Macroeconomics from a Gender Perspective” Bridge and GTZ, pp. 19-30, February 2000.

[5] Ibid p.30.

[6] Sirianni, Carmen and Negrey, Cynthia, “Working Time as Gendered Time” Routledge, Feminists Economics 6(1), 2000,59-76.

[7] Bergmann, Barbara, R. “The Economic Risks of Being a Housewife,” the microeconomic review, Vol 71 NO 2, May 1981.

[8] Sirianni, Carmen and Negrey, Cynthia, “Working Time as Gendered Time” op cit. 16, p. 62.

[9] Baden, Sally and Alexander, Patricia. “Glossary on Macroeconomics from a Gender Perspective” op cit. 3.

[10] Elson, Dian. “Engendering of Government Budgets in the Context of Globalization(s)” University of Utah, Department of Economics, p.8, Working Paper NO 204-2.

[11]Lourdes. “Towards a Greater Integration of Gender in Economics” World Development, Vol 23, No 11, pp. 1839-1850, 1995.

[12] Government of Pakistan, Finance Division and UNDP (Pakistan), Strengthening Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) Monitoring Project, “Gender Responsive Budgeting in Pakistan An Evolutionary Process.” November 2008.

[13] Gender and Economic Development, The Work of Diane Elson, Rotterdam, pp.22,23 1998.

[14] Sawer, Marian. “Australia; The mandarin approach to gender budgets” in Budlender and Hewitt (eds.), pp.43-64, 2002.

[15] Elson, Dian. “Engendering of Government Budgets in the Context of Globalization(s)” University of Utah, Department of Economics, Working Paper NO 204-2.

[16] Sharp, Rhonda and Ray Broomhill. “Budgeting for Equality: The Australian Experience”, Feminist Economics 8(1), 2002.

[17]Hill, Donna. “The United Kingdom: A focus on taxes and benefits”, in Budlender and Hewitt (eds.) op.cit. pp.171-192, 2002.

[18] Budlender, Debbie and Guy Hewitt (eds.). Gender Budgets Make More Cents. London: Commonwealth Secretariat, 2002.

[19] South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP: Available at their Website - http://www.satp.org/)

[20] UNDP, “Country Profile, Pakistan, International Human Development Indicators” accessed at http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/PAK.html, April 2012

[21] Hudson, Valerie, M. and Boer, Andera M. den, “Bare Branches-The Security Implications of Asia’s Surplus Male Population” The MIT Press, London, p.54, 2005.

[22] Budlenger, Debbie. “How Gender Responsive Budgeting Can Contribute to PRSP?” Government of Pakistan, Finance Division, Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiative (GRBI), 2006.

[23] Budlender, Debbie. “A Global Assessment of Gender Responsive Budget Initiatives”, in Budlender op cit. pp. 83-164, 2002.

[24] Debbie, Bublender, Mahubub, Nadeem. “ Gender Responsive Budgeting in Pakistan: Experience and Lesson Learnt”, November 2007.

[25] Budlenger, Debbie. “How Gender Responsive Budgeting Can Contribute to PRSP?” Government of Pakistan, Finance Division, Gender Responsive Budgeting Initiative (GRBI), 2006.

[26] Ibid


Dr. Shahbaz Israr Khan is a graduate of the University for Peace and currently serves as Program Officer for Bargad, an organization for youth development in Pakistan.
Footer