Praxis participated in the Mutual Learning Programme in gender equality organised by the European Commission. It addressed gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting in the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and national budgets. As part of the programme, each expert of the participating 14 EU Member States wrote a background paper about the situation in their country and during the mutual learning seminar the experts and the government representatives discussed the good practices, shared challenges and provided recommendations.
Gender budgeting is a strategy to achieve equality between women and men by focusing on how public resources are collected and spent. It involves assessing gender impacts of the budget, taking gender perspective into account in every step of the process and restructuring income and costs so that gender equality is supported.
In Estonia, gender budgeting is not yet implemented, although steps have been taken that would make it possible to implement it:
- Estonian legislation requires the promotion of gender equality systematically and purposefully
- gender disaggregated data is being collected
- equal treatment, including gender equality, is one of the five horizontal principles agreed by the Government, which indicate cross-cutting objectives that should be achieved through planned activities and development plans in addition to the specific goals of these measures.
- when drafting legislation or development plans, impact assessment, including gender impacts, must be carried out
- since 2020, the Estonian Government uses activity-based budgeting, which associates state costs with activities and performance objectives.
Thus, in principle, everything needed to transfer to gender budgeting is in place in Estonia – impact assessment, gender statistics, linking state costs with measurable goals. To take the next steps, the following is needed:
- more meaningful impact assessments
- national gender equality objectives, which would help to guide the policy makers to develop measures that promote gender equality in their areas of work
- the political decision to integrate gender perspective into state budget
During the mutual learning seminar, the experiences, including challenges and good practices, of those countries that have implemented gender budgeting (e.g. Austria, Belgium) were mostly discussed. The main conclusions were:
- activity-based budgeting makes it easier to integrate gender aspect into the budget
- collaboration between gender experts and the government officials responsible for the budgeting process as well as continuous training of new public servants on gender equality is very important for a successful transition to and implementation of gender budgeting
- in addition, continuous monitoring of the quality of the impact analysis and the achievement of gender equality related goals is strongly recommended.
About gender budgeting (European Institute for Gender Equality EIGE)