Sweden has a feminist government that works to achieve gender equality between women and men at all levels of society. The budget process and the Budget Bill are of key importance in realising the Government’s policy and it is therefore important that budget work is conducted in a way that includes the effects and consequences for gender equality when taking decisions on the direction and distribution of resources.
Gender-responsive budgeting means that the gender equality effects of budget policy are to be evaluated and that a gender equality perspective is to be integrated at all levels of the budgetary process. It also means a redistribution of revenue and expenditure to promote gender equality. This includes, for example, the use of sex disaggregated statistics, thorough analyses from a gender equality perspective, and reforms and other measures that lead to increased gender equality – and which make a tangible difference in people’s daily lives in the short or long term.
There can be a variety of solutions to the challenges and problems facing society. Gender-responsive budgeting makes gender equality an active part in solving problems, so that we can choose the course of action that contributes to equality between women and men, girls and boys.
Development work is under way at the Government Offices to strengthen gender-responsive budgeting efforts. In spring 2015, focus was on methods development and implementation of gender analyses, which formed part of the decision-making data for several of the reforms presented in the Budget Bill. The Government has also set new goals on how gender equality efforts are to progress in key areas and indicators to follow-up this work.
To maintain serious, knowledge-based development work, the Government is allocating resources specifically to evaluate and develop work with gender mainstreaming and gender-responsive budgeting, beginning in 2016. The conclusions and analyses that emerge in the evaluations will be reintroduced and put to use in the work being conducted by the ministries and government agencies.
The aim is for the investments now being made to develop work on gender-responsive budgeting to lead to clear progress on gender equality efforts during the mandate period.
“Gender equality is not only fair, it also makes sense in economic terms. But improving gender equality in the budget work requires the right tools – we must be able to measure how the allocation of resources affects gender equality. That’s why this development work we’re doing is so important,” says Minister for Finance Magdalena Andersson.