Gender-responsive budgeting

Sweden has a feminist government that is working to achieve gender equality at all levels of society. Gender equality in the budget process is of central importance in realising feminist policies. As far as possible, the budget is to promote gender equality so that all people, regardless of gender, can live a gender-equal life.

Magdalena Andersson
Magdalena Andersson Photo: Kristian Pohl, Government Offices of Sweden

Sweden’s feminist government pursues a gender perspective in its budgetary policy. This means that social resources are to benefit the entire population. The budget of a feminist government must be based on gender analyses of proposals and reforms to ensure that choices, priorities and resource allocation in the budget reflect the Government’s gender equality ambitions.

“Gender-responsive budgeting must promote gender equality and make a tangible difference in people’s daily lives. The Government has now taken further important steps to ensure that a gender perspective is included in budgetary decisions, and we are presenting a budget that clearly promotes gender equality,” says Minister for Finance Magdalena Andersson. 

Gender-responsive budgeting is the application of gender mainstreaming in the budgetary process. This means that the gender equality effects of budget policy are evaluated, that a gender perspective is continuously applied in the process and that revenue and expenditure are to be redistributed to promote gender equality. The Government Offices has clear guidelines for using a gender perspective in key work processes, for example in the budgetary process and agency governance. The work of developing gender-responsive budgeting is to be carried out continuously and systematically to ensure a clearer gender perspective in the Government’s policies.  

Gender equality in society

Sweden is still marked by significant differences in the living conditions of women and men. The Government intends to analyse the importance of tax system reform from a gender perspective. The analysis is to be complete by 2018. The Government’s objective is for women’s employment rate to be as high as men’s and for the gender pay gap to be closed. The Government’s proposed additional resources to the local government sector will also help improve employment and work environment conditions for women.

Moreover, in its Budget Bill for 2017, the Government states its intention to establish a gender equality agency. The agency will help ensure effective implementation of gender equality policy. Before the end of the year, the Government will also present a new national strategy, including an action plan for 2017–2020, to prevent and combat men’s violence against women.

“Gender equality is a matter of fairness and the equal value of all people, making use of the potential of every person, but it is also an important condition for sustainable economic growth and development of the labour market, welfare and the Swedish model. Gender equality is part of the solution to many of the challenges facing society. Sweden’s feminist government is serious: we want to see real change in people’s lives,” says Ms Andersson.

About gender-responsive budgeting in the 2017 Budget Bill

Gender-responsive budgeting involves the application of gender mainstreaming to the budget process, and it means that priorities, choices and the allocation of resources in the budget should as far as possible promote gender equality. Gender-responsive budgeting helps the Government ensure that economic policy is used to increase economic equality and help advance gender equality in society. It is a matter of fairness, making use of the potential of every person, but it is also an important condition for sustainable economic growth and development of the labour market, welfare and the Swedish model. Gender equality is part of the solution to many of the challenges facing society.

Pursuing gender equality in the budget process is vitally important in realising feminist policies. The budget process must take account of the effects on and consequences for gender equality when designing proposals and reforms and in the distribution of resources. Integrating a gender perspective in policies will help to shape a society that is sustainable in the long-term. To ensure that the central government budget contributes to gender equality, this perspective must be included at the earliest possible stage, and in all stages of the budget process. Intensive work on gender-responsive budgeting has been under way at the Government Offices ever since the Government took office. Important steps have been taken to ensure that the gender equality effects of budget policy are highlighted in the background material on which budget decisions are based so that the Government can present a budget that promotes gender equality.