Is Equality Budgeting a new idea?
Equality Budgeting was first introduced in the form of gender budgeting in the 1980s. Although gender budgeting has a specific focus on gender in its interaction with economic policies and processes, gender budgeting has evolved, over the decades, to include other equality categories, such as disability, age, or race. In its original form, however, Equality Budgeting was concerned mainly with the disproportionate impact of economic policy measures on women and men.
Australia pioneered the adoption of Equality Budgeting by publishing a “women’s budget” in 1984. Other countries soon followed suit, and there are now over 60 countries that have implemented or worked toward Equality Budgeting, including Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Tanzania and Uganda.
Much of the impetus behind this reform of traditional economic policy processes came from a United Nations Conference on Women held in 1995, and the resultant agreed strategy document for increasing gender equality, the Beijing Platform for Action (PFA). Specifically, the PFA
* requires the “integration of a gender perspective in budgetary decisions on policies and programmes, as well as the adequate financing of specific programmes for securing equality between women and men.” (PFA 345)
* calls on governments to “facilitate, at appropriate levels, more open and transparent budget processes” (PFA 165i)