National development plans and strategies identify development priorities and articulate how these will be implemented, financed and monitored. Often, gender equality commitments are not adequately considered or included during the design, implementation and financing stages of planning. Despite efforts to formulate national action plans for gender equality and sectoral gender strategies, these are rarely integrated in national development priority setting and plans. Implementing gender equality commitments requires governments to take a series of actions including formulating policies that remove gender-based discrimination and guarantee women’s rights. Such actions require financial resources, institutional capacity and accountability systems that should be integrated in national plans and budgets in order to enable implementation.

Ministries of Finance have the mandate to set up public finance management systems, define budget ceilings and ensure sound macro-economic frameworks. Gender analysis supports ministries of finance to make better budget choices by highlighting existing gender gaps and the impact of public expenditures and revenue-raising on women and girls.

UN Women supports efforts to mainstream gender in national development plans and strategies as well as sectoral strategies through the provision of technical support to national partners. To illustrate, a total of 43 countries developed gender-responsive national development plans and sectoral plans as a result of UN Women support. Initiatives are also underway to influence national budgetary frameworks and laws especially in the context of ongoing public financial management reform. This involves working closely with civil society organizations, especially women’s groups, to monitor government policy, planning and allocations for budget transparency.  

Morocco's successful case in implementing gender responsive budgets

Morocco has a long history of gender responsive budgeting work with sustained, high-level political will to address gender equality. Since the adoption of a new finance law in January 2014, the needs of women and girls are increasingly being reflected in how governments spend and the gender priorities are integrated throughout the budgeting process.

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Key Resources

An Investment that Pays off: Promoting Gender Equality as a Means to Finance Development

This paper identifies the linkages between gender equality and financing for development, with an eye to connecting these results to concrete policy implications that can be adopted by developing countries to ensure a win-win outcome: greater gender equality, resource mobilization, and improvements in societal well-being. Under the conditions of financial resource constraints, especially, investing in the improvement of gender equality in a country can stimulate economic growth for the whole...

Engendering Budgets: A Practitioners' Guide to Understanding and Implementing Gender-Responsive Budgets

This practical guide by Debbie Budlender and Guy Hewitt, based on experiences of past gender budget initiatives, provides a comprehensive outline of how to engender budgets. Intended for practitioners of any level, this gender budgets handbook provides insight based on past examples, while also relaying technical guidance needed to apply the concepts in most contexts.

Gender Responsive Budgeting in Education

This advocacy brief published in 2010 by UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education was written by Reina Ichii. The author argues that achieving the Education for All (EFA) goals by 2015 requires the design and implementation of programmes that are specifically aimed at achieving the desired outcomes. Budgets required for implementing those programmes must be made available and consistently monitored to ensure that funds are spent in the right places and are effective in achieving the...