By Arwa Al-Najdawi, DevTech’s Gender Budget Expert on the USAID Jordan Fiscal Reform and Public Financial Management Project
I had the opportunity to present a session at the International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management (ICGFM) 2018 Winter Training Conference that was held December 3-5, 2018, at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. ICGFM, as the only worldwide grouping of organizations and people involved in governmental financial management, encourages its members to work together to promote a better understanding of professional financial management (PFM) among public officials at all levels of government. The theme for this year’s conference was “PFM in a Changing World.”
In my presentation, I addressed the rationale for introducing gender budget analysis and the benefits that governments will gain by using this tool to:
- Recognize the different roles/features/needs of women and men, and boys and girls in society
- Recognize the economic situation and participation of women in the labor market
- Formulate/reformulate gender-friendly public policies that target specific gender/vulnerable groups (poor, elderly, delinquent juveniles, or disabled persons)
- Improve transparency and accountability towards gender commitments
- Improve gender equity and equality in a specific area that leads to gender mainstreaming.
Based on the outcomes of a survey conducted by UN Women on the assessment of gender equality implementations at the global level, all countries around the world have legal frameworks (constitution, laws, by-laws, etc.) and strategic plans for gender equality. Despite that fact, only 27% of world countries have a gender budgeting framework, and 14% of them have an overall implementation of gender budgeting instruments.
To improve PFM performance from a gender perspective, I stressed the need to embed the public budget document with gender-relevant indicators. Gender performance indicators are highly recommended to track the efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditures that respond to both gender needs and requirements. Ultimately, this will lead to monitoring the progress/shortcomings in each specific area, providing policy makers and decision takers with evidence-based recommendations on gender needs and requirements in the society which will help to bridge any gender gaps. I then demonstrated some of DevTech’s achievements in the area of gender budgeting for the USAID Jordan Fiscal Reform and Public Financial Management Project. The major achievements are:
- Introduced evidence-based analytical reporting tool on gender budgeting.
- Assisted in drafting and delivering the first-of-its-kind gender budget analytical reports in four pilot ministries (Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Political and Parliament Affairs). This process will be scaled up in 2019 to cover an additional four pilot ministries (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Justice, and Ministry of Municipal Affairs).
- Provided technical assistance to the General Budget Department (GBD) in formulating a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to institutionalize the gender budgeting process in Jordan and serve their gender national priorities.
Even though gender budgeting is a fiscal tool, I believe it is also an economic and social tool that should aim to improve citizen welfare.
ICGFM VP of Programs and Conference Chair Mr. David Pearl and participants were impressed with the presented material. Many of them expressed their likes and comments by posting on LinkedIn:
- “Thanks for the excellent presentation. ICGFM greatly appreciates DevTech sharing its expertise at the Winter conference”, David Pearl, VP of Programs and Conference Chair.
- “Excellent presentation, Arwa. Mabrouk!”, Mark Gallagher, Ph.D., Macrofiscal Advisor, ICGFM Speaker & Participant.
- “I echo Mark’s comments. Public sector projects must have gender-focused activities that address the needs of women and girls to truly say they are gender sensitive”, Samuel Taddesse, Expert in Regional Development and Protection Programs.
If you would like to know more, you can see the presentation here: [https://www.icgfm.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Day2-Sp4-Gender-Budget-Analysis_LewarneNajdawiCooper.pdf](https://www.icgfm.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Day2-Sp4-Gender-Budget-Analysis_LewarneNajdawiCooper.pdf)