KUALA LUMPUR, July 13 – In a positive step towards gender equality, the Gender Budget Group (GBG), led by ENGENDER Consultancy, Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), and the Ministry of Finance (MOF) have launched a Gender Responsive Budgeting-in-Practice (GRBiP) programme — a collaborative pilot initiative for two key ministries, on July 4, 2022.
The GRBiP programme, held from July 4 to 6 at the MOF, was a three-day workshop aimed to build ministry capacity towards ensuring a national budget that leaves no one behind.
This programme was also supported by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, Westminster Foundation for Democracy, and Yayasan Sime Darby.
Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) takes into account the differences in situations, roles, contributions, and needs of all segments of the community, including women, men, girls, and boys — and seeks to address the lived realities of these different communities and strata of society.
At its core, GRB and gender mainstreaming efforts acknowledge the discrimination and disadvantages faced by women, especially as it intersects with other identities such as ethnicity, disability, and minority status.
It aims to reduce disparity in access to resources and opportunities by considering various challenges women may face in achieving equality.
In recognising the impact of GRB on women and marginalised communities, efforts have been made to incorporate this approach in strengthening recovery and facilitating reforms towards sustainable socio-economic resilience for all in Malaysia.
In its pre-Budget statement on June 3, MOF expressed its commitment to GRB, and in preparation for the national budget, MOF’s annual budget circular to ministries outlined gender analysis as a key requirement to improve resource distribution, as well as to uphold the national commitment to gender equality.
“The budget circular (Pekeliling Perbendeharaan 1.3) seeks to ensure gender analysis in the operational and development budgets improving resource allocation. It is about ensuring provisions of equality, equity and opportunity for all by recognising and targeting different needs,” said Johan Mahmood Merican, deputy secretary general of treasury (policy), at the GRBiP Workshop launch last Monday.
“We need to step up where women are achieving lower outcomes by utilising a gender lens to provide equal access.”
To this end, the GRBiP programme is timely in bolstering the ministry’s work in its implementation of Budget 2022 allocations and in preparation for Budget 2023.
It aims to help ministries deepen their understanding of gender responsive budgeting processes and its application to improve gender outcomes in budgets, policies and service delivery.
It especially focuses on building ministry capacities in gender mainstreaming as well as in responding to MOF’s annual budget call circular.
“(GRB and the GRBiP Programme) encourages the cross-cutting inclusion of a gender perspective in policies and national programmes, thereby translating government’s commitments for gender equality into monetary commitments,” said Omna Sreeni-Ong, co-lead of the Gender Budget Group.
“We are cognisant that operationalising GRB requires ongoing capacity building in all areas of budget formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and impact assessment; that it is a long-term process that needs an integrated approach and importantly, engagement with multiple stakeholders–particularly the voices of women and other disadvantaged groups.”
The training programme kicked off with an e-GRB workshop by the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), followed by two full days of learning with gender focal points, finance, monitoring, and evaluation, policy and programme implementation divisions.
Statisticians from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, and Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives will also be participating.
This will be further complemented by a pertinent Gender Data and Budget 2022 Scrutiny component in August to support effective implementation that will benefit all Malaysians.