Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UzDaily.com) -- What is gender budgeting? Budget is an essential tool for policy implemented by the government. The way in which public budgets attract and allocate funds and resources, revenues and expenses, affects the welfare and development of individual men and women and the nation as a whole. Budgets reflect the priorities and commitments of governments, including their commitment to achieve gender equality.
Gender budgeting is an approach to planning, programming and budgeting, so that they eventually could contribute to the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights.
Gender budgets can also be aimed at gender-differentiated analysis of public charges, as well as distribution of costs from its own budget revenues, as well as at technical assistance and investment.
Initiatives on gender budgeting help to create an enabling environment and policy framework for the promotion of gender equality, democratic governance and sustainable economic growth, as well as to strengthen the capacity and improve the monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
Gender budgeting performs an audit function: the gender audit is part of gender budgeting process. It is held after the budget has been approved and spent, with the aim to study the final impact and the results achieved in the use of funds, and to compare them what was planned, in terms of a gender perspective. The term “gender audit” refers to a particularly thorough examination and verification of the state budget. As a rule, an agency separate from the Ministry of Finance is responsible for the audit of the budget.
As seen from the above, gender budgeting is intended to balance the interests and needs of representatives (members) of different social groups and strata of society. In the preparation of such a budget, the interests and needs of women and men, girls and boys, and ultimately of the whole society are taken into account.
To the date, gender budgeting have been tested and / or is being practiced in more than 70 countries. It was first piloted in 1990 in Australia and South Africa in a number of ministries. They were invited to submit reports on revenues and expenditures, including general expenses and their ultimate impact on the status and welfare of women and men. They were also requested to provide information about special programs aimed at women and men; cost contribution to the achievement of gender equality, as well as a review of taxation.
What is the gender situation in Uzbekistan?
Since the first days of independence Uzbekistan has been supporting national programs and activities for the advancement of women. In 1995, the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan “On enhancing the role of women in state and social construction of the Republic of Uzbekistan”, which laid the foundations of the Women’s Committee which has become a national tool for the advancement of women. Also the Decreegave a start to the implementation of the government programs on socio-economic and political development of women. The Cabinet of Ministers introduced the post of a Deputy Prime Minister in charge of ensuring the rights and interests of women, similar positions were introduced at all levels of regional government.
In 1998, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan approved the first ever National Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women in Uzbekistan, prepared on the basis of the Beijing Platform and Action Plan. Since 1997, the country has annually been adopting the government programs aimed at the development and enhancement of the role and interests of women and children. In 1999, Uzbekistan submitted to the UN an initial national report on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
In Uzbekistan, women have comparable to men access to secondary, vocational and higher education, health, social protection. New opportunities for the development of women’s entrepreneurship have been created.
The country has a high proportion of female employment. Since 2005, the program of job creation and ensuring employment has been drafted, approved by Parliament and executed. It provides for the jobs creation in every region, meeting the needs of women in employment, due to the development of small businesses, service sector and home-based work. Cooperation of the Central Bank of Uzbekistan, the “Microcredit” Bank and other commercial banks in the Republic with female entrepreneurship has been established and strengthened.
However, along with the existing achievements, there are still problems in achieving equality between women and men in Uzbekistan.
Key areas of concern include:
Assistance rendered by the «Budget System Reform in Uzbekistan” Project in the field of gender budgeting.
The joint project of UNDP and the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan “Budget System Reform in Uzbekistan” is actively working on the integration of a gender perspective in the budget process. To date, a number of studies, including a gender analysis of the budgeting process on the example of the city of Djizak and Urtachirchik district of Tashkent region have been conducted; indicators developed and practical recommendations made for the implementation of gender budgeting in the region’s economy; manual on gender budgeting for civil servants created basing on international practice and the recommendations of international organizations.
In addition, on 9-10 October 2014 the project held a seminar on gender budgeting. The seminar was attended by over 20 experts, including heads of departments and experts of the Ministry of Finance, the Treasury, the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources, Ministry of Cultural Affairs and Sport, Women’s Committee of Uzbekistan, the State Committee for Nature Protection, the State Statistics Committee, and the Center for Hydrometeorological Service under the Cabinet of Ministers - to put it short for those who by nature of their activities deal with budget planning.
The seminar participants were acquainted not only with the general concepts of gender budgeting and benefits of its implementation as a tool for good governance, but also with the fundamentals of gender analysis, gender statistics and concepts related to the economy of unpaid work and “care”.
The “Budget System Reform in Uzbekistan” Project will continue to work in this field.