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Gender Budgetting and Women's Empowerment by Prof. Vibhuti Patel

Subject:Women Studies/Gender Studies Paper: Women and economics
Budget is an important tool in the hands of state for affirmative action for improvement of gender relations through reduction of gender gap in the development process. It can help to reduce economic inequalities, between men and women as well as between the rich and the poor Hence, the budgetary policies need to keep into considerations the gender dynamics operating in the economy and in the civil society. There is a need to highlight participatory approaches bottom up budget, child budget, green budgeting, local and global implications of pro-poor and pro-women budgeting and inter-linkages between gender-sensitive budgeting and women’s empowerment. Understanding the relationship between macroeconomic policies and the Union Budget, state budgets and the local self government institutions in the context of economic reforms and globalization is a MUST as it has influenced women’s lives in several ways. It is good economic sense to make national budgets gender-sensitive, as this will enable more effective targeting of government expenditure to women specific activities and reduce inequitable consequences of previous fiscal policies. The Gender Budget Initiative is a policy framework, methodology and set of tools to assist governments to integrate a gender perspective into the budget as the main national plan of public expenditure. It also aims to facilitate attention to gender analysis in review of macroeconomic performance, ministerial budget preparations, parliamentary debate and mainstream media coverage. Budget impacts women’s lives in several ways. It directly promotes women’s development through allocation of budgetary funds for women’s programmes or reduces opportunities for empowerment of women through budgetary cuts.

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