This section presents the initial findings from the recently launched Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) supplementary framework for assessing gender responsive public financial management (GRPFM).
There is growing recognition that public budgeting decisions and the public financial management (PFM) systems that underpin them can affect the economic and social outcomes of men and women differently. As a result, gender responsive public financial management, also known as gender responsive budgeting (GRB), has been developed as an approach to budgeting that explicitly considers the impact of fiscal policy, PFM, and public administration on gender equality, girls’ and women’s development, and specific groups of people (for example, people with disabilities, minorities).
"Stotsky (2020) reports that more than 80 countries have undertaken some form of gender responsive PFM, although their activities vary."
Gender responsive PFM and inclusion of gender-specific information in the budget process have been gaining traction in PFM. Stotsky (2020) reports that more than 80 countries have undertaken some form of gender responsive PFM, although their activities vary.
Moreover, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) clearly highlight the importance of linking gender equality with financing for development. Therefore, UN Women, together with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), developed SDG indicator 5.c.1, which measures government efforts to publish and track budget allocations for gender equality throughout the budget cycle.
To support this purpose, the Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Secretariat developed a supplementary framework for assessing gender responsive PFM.
The PEFA GRPFM framework contains nine indicators presented across the budget cycle.
PEFA GRPFM indicators and dimensions
|GRPFM-1 Gender impact analysis of budget policy proposals||GRPFM-1.1 Gender impact analysis of expenditure policy proposals|
|GRPFM-1.2 Gender impact analysis of revenue policy proposals|
|GRPFM-2 Gender responsive public investment management||GRPFM-2.1 Gender responsive public investment management|
|GRPFM-3 Gender responsive budget circular||GRPFM-3.1 Gender responsive budget circular|
|GRPFM-4 Gender responsive budget proposal documentation||GRPFM-4.1 Gender responsive budget proposal documentation|
|GRPFM-5 Sex-disaggregated performance information for service delivery||GRPFM-5.1 Gender responsive performance plans for service delivery|
|GRPFM-5.2 Sex-disaggregated performance achieved for service delivery|
|GRPFM-6 Tracking budget expenditure for gender equality||GRPFM-6.1 Tracking budget expenditure for gender equality|
|GRPFM-7 Gender responsive reporting||GRPFM-7.1 Gender responsive reporting|
|GRPFM-8 Evaluation of gender impacts of service delivery||GRPFM-8.1 Evaluation of gender impacts of service delivery|
|GRPFM-9 Legislative scrutiny of gender impacts of the budget||GRPFM-9.1 Gender responsive legislative scrutiny of budgets|
|GRPFM-9.2 Gender responsive legislative scrutiny of audit reports|
Note: GRPFM = gender responsive public financial management.
GRPFM practices are rated on a four-point ordinal scale from D to A, in line with the PEFA framework but the calibration of the letter grades has been adjusted to fit the needs of gender responsive PFM practices. For example, while a “C” in the normal PEFA framework equates to a basic level of performance, a “C” in the GRPFM assessment refers to the initial efforts that have taken place to mainstream gender impact analysis.
Levels of GRPFM practice on a four-point ordinal scale
|Score||Level of GRPFM practice|
|Gender impact analysis is mainstreamed in the relevant PFM institution, processes, or system.|
|Gender impact analysis is partially mainstreamed in the relevant PFM institution, processes, or system.|
|Initial efforts have taken place to mainstream gender impact analysis in the relevant PFM institution, process, or system.|
|Gender considerations are not included in the relevant PFM institution, processes, or system, or performance is less than required for a C score.|
Note: GRPFM = gender responsive public financial management. PFM = public financial management.
This new GRPFM framework was launched in January 2020, and the initial findings from eight countries are presented below. As in other sections of the Global Report, the following analysis assigns numerical scores to each letter grade (D=1, lowest score; A=4, highest score) to allow for cross-country comparisons.
The GRPFM framework was piloted in seven countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Fiji, Haiti, Indonesia, St. Lucia, Ukraine, and Tonga) in 2019 and in Norway at the beginning of 2020.
Stakeholder involvement in PEFA GRPFM assessments, 2019–2020
|Country||Lead agency||Funding agency|
|Antigua and Barbuda||PEFA Secretariat and World Bank||Government of Canada as part of Canada-Caribbean Resilience Facility (2019-24), implemented by the World Bank|
|Fiji||Asian Development Bank and Ministry of Economy||Asian Development Bank|
|Haiti||World Bank||Government of Canada as part of Canada-Caribbean Resilience Facility (2019-24), implemented by the World Bank|
|Indonesia||World Bank||European Union and governments of Canada and Switzerland as part of the World Bank-managed PFM multidonor trust fund for Indonesia|
|Norway||Government with the help of external consultant||Government|
|St. Lucia||PEFA Secretariat and World Bank||Government of Canada as part of Canada-Caribbean Resilience Facility (2019-24), implemented by the World Bank|
|Ukraine||PEFA Secretariat and World Bank||European Commission (EC) as part of Parallel EC_World Bank partnership Program for the Europe and Central Asia Programmatic Single-Donor Trust Fund/European Union Program for the Reform of Public Administration and Finances|
|Tonga||International Monetary Fund and PEFA Secretariat||International Monetary Fund|
While governments integrate gender in PFM in various ways, mainstreaming gender across the budget cycle is relatively limited. The eight PEFA GRPFM assessments represent a very small sample, and therefore any inference of a global trend should be viewed with caution.
For an example of how Indonesia is using the results of the recent PEFA GRPFM assessment to strengthen the gender responsiveness of their PFM systems, visit the PEFA website.
To learn more about the PEFA GRPFM framework and access useful resources on GRPFM on the PEFA website.
Learn more about GRPFM indicator 1 ‘Gender impact analysis of budget policy proposals’ and how gender impact analysis of budget policy proposals is conducted in Canada.
Good budget practices require government to assess the impacts on beneficiaries of expenditure and revenue policy proposals developed during budget preparation, including new or additional expenditures and proposed reductions in expenditures. Changes in policies can have different impacts on the delivery of services to men and women and to subgroups of those categories.
The benefit of performing ex ante gender impact evaluations, analyses, or assessments of policies is to understand their envisaged impacts on men and women and subgroups of those categories. The aim is to improve the design and planning of the policy under consideration in order to avoid any negative impacts on gender equality and to strengthen gender equality through better-designed, transformative policies.
“Ex ante gender impact evaluations, analyses, or assessments of policies help to understand their envisaged impacts on men and women and subgroups of those categories.”
In the eight countries assessed, only two (Norway and Tonga) perform ex ante gender impact assessments of budget polices. In Norway, the ex ante gender impact assessments are performed for both new expenditure and revenue policy proposals. In Tonga, however, they are performed only for expenditure policies that are funded by development partners. In both cases, this practice is not mainstreamed and is only applied to a limited subset of budget policies.
Learn more about GRPFM indicator 2 ‘Gender responsive public investment management’ and how gender is integrated in public investment management in the Philippines.
Disparate groups of men and women benefit differently from investment projects. It is therefore important for the government to include a gender perspective in the economic analysis of major investment projects. Take, for example, a new public space that is intended to promote physical activity among both men and boys and women and girls equally but that will be located in an area with no street lightning and no safe public transportation. Such a location likely will pose safety concerns for girls and women who are, as a result, less likely to use the space. The public space also needs to consider the needs of different subgroups of women and men (including factors such as the needs of people with disabilities, youth, and the elderly).
"Disparate groups of men and women benefit differently from investment projects.”
Half of the assessed countries (Fiji, Norway, Tonga, and St. Lucia) include gender impact analysis as part of the feasibility or prefeasibility studies for major investment projects. However, this practice is not systematically integrated into the preparation of all new investment proposals in any of the countries. In Tonga, for example, investment projects funded by development partners include a gender impact assessment.
Learn more about GRPFM indicator 3 ‘Gender responsive budget circular’ and how gender is integrated in budget circulars in Rwanda and Sweden.
The budget circular usually provides instructions for budgetary units on how to set out detailed estimates in accordance with their approved ceilings as well as on how to submit proposals for new spending or potential savings in accordance with government policy priorities. It normally sets out the requirements for budgetary units to provide supporting justification and, if the government is operating a program or a performance- or results-based budgeting system, the planned results for both existing and proposed changes in budget allocations.
The gender responsive budget circular includes a requirement for budgetary units to provide justification or planned results for the effects on men and women or on gender equality of the following: (a) proposed new spending initiatives and (b) proposed reductions in expenditures. A gender responsive budget circular also requires budgetary units to include sex-disaggregated data for actual or expected results.
“The gender responsive budget circular requires budgetary units to provide information on the effects of proposed budget policies on men and women.”
Only two countries (Indonesia and Ukraine) include gender requirements in budget circulars when finance ministries send guidelines to line ministries on how to submit their budget proposals. In Ukraine, the budget circular only includes a requirement to present the gender impact of new policy proposals. In Indonesia, the circular requires line ministries to present the gender impacts of both new spending proposals and proposed reductions in expenditures.
Learn more about GRPFM indicator 4 ‘Gender responsive budget proposal documentation’ and how gender responsive budget documentation in presented in Canada.
The government’s budget proposal documentation sets out, among other things, the government’s expenditure and revenue plans for the budget year and, in the case of medium-term budgets, the two following fiscal years. Gender-responsive budget documentation also includes information on the following: (a) an overview of government’s policy priorities for improving gender equality, (b) a description of budget measures aimed at promoting gender equality, and (c) an assessment of the impacts of budget policies on gender equality.
Five out of eight countries (Fiji, Haiti, Indonesia, Norway, and Tonga) present gender information in the budget proposal documentation, with varying degrees of comprehensiveness. In Indonesia and Norway, for example, the government provides an overview of government’s policy priorities for improving gender equality in a specific section of the budget proposal documentation and presents budget measures intended to promote gender equality. In Fiji, the budget proposals outline the budget measures to improve gender equality, but they do not give an overview of key policies targeted at closing gender gaps.
The PEFA Secretariat has been collecting information on country experiences in integrating gender in PFM systems and processes, including countries that have not had a PEFA GRPFM assessment. In the Republic of Korea, for example, the 2010 National Public Finance Law requires the government to produce gender sensitive budget statements and a gender sensitive settlement of accounts (balance sheet) that assesses whether the budget has benefited men and women equally and reduced or eliminated gender discrimination.
Learn more about GRPFM indicator 5 ‘Sex-disaggregated performance information for service delivery’ and about an additional example of inclusion of sex-disaggregated data in performance information on service delivery in Austria.
The collection and analysis of sex-disaggregated data are key for the design, implementation, and evaluation of budget policies. The inclusion of these data in performance information for service delivery helps to understand the impacts of programs and services on men and women and on gender equality. These data can also help policy makers to develop appropriate, evidence-based responses and policies. However, only half of the countries in the sample (Norway, Tonga, St. Lucia, and Ukraine) collect and present this information as part of their line ministry performance plans, while only three (Norway, St. Lucia, and Ukraine) also include it in their ex post reports on performance achieved.
“The collection and analysis of sex-disaggregated data are key for the design, implementation, and evaluation of budget policies.”
The Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Korea has developed a system of tracking expenditure for gender equality.
Learn more about GRPFM indicator 6 ‘Tracking budget expenditure for gender equality’ and about two additional examples of tracking expenditure for gender equality in Indonesia and Italy.
Gender responsive PFM is built on the premise that public spending can be used as an instrument for achieving gender equality. To have significant impacts on men and boys, women and girls, and different subgroups of these categories, public spending must be budgeted and disbursed for activities that help to achieve these desired impacts. It is therefore important that resources planned to promote gender equality are actually disbursed, that there is a way to track those resources, and that no major adjustments are made to allocations that are not authorized by the legislature.
“It is important that budget resources planned to promote gender equality are actually disbursed.”
Only three countries have developed mechanisms to track expenditure for gender equality. Although all three countries report on the need to strengthen their tracking systems, two have embedded tracking in budget planning and implementation, while only one performs tracking as an ex post exercise. This means that, at the end of the fiscal year, a dedicated government entity reviews all of the expenditures and tags those that are considered to target gender equality in line with the approved definition of budget expenditures for gender equality.
Every three years, the Norwegian Bureau of Statistics produces a report that presents labour market and activity data, time allocation, income and revenue, and gender inequality in relation to access to economic resources. These data form part of the national statistical system and include labour market data, surveys on sex-disaggregated differences in the use of time for childcare, domestic work, remunerated work, income and health information statistics, and others. See an example of the report here:
Learn more about GRPFM indicator 7 ‘Gender responsive reporting’ and how gender responsive reports are prepared in Autonomous Region of Andalucía, Spain.
Governments have been increasingly producing reports on the implementation of their budget policies that include information on gender-related expenditure and revenue. Countries produce gender responsive annual reports in various ways. Regardless of the format, the reports should include information on the following: (a) a report on gender equality outcomes; (b) data on gender-related expenditure; (c) assessment of the implementation of budget policies and their impacts on gender; and (d) sex-disaggregated data on budgetary central government employment.
“Governments have been increasingly producing reports on the implementation of their budget policies that include information on gender-related expenditure and revenue.”
Only one country (Norway) in the sample, however, prepares a report on budget implementation that includes a report on gender equality outcomes and sex-disaggregated data on the central government workforce.
See an example of the guidance issued by the government on Indonesia on conducting evaluations on the implementation of gender budgeting (in Indonesian only):
Learn more about GRPFM indicator 8 ‘Evaluation of gender impacts of service delivery’ and how such evaluations are conducted in Austria and Ukraine.
Evaluations of the impact of public services on gender and gender equality provide an important feedback for the initial design of services as well as any other unintended consequences for the provision of services for men and women and different categories of these subgroups. Such evaluations can include, but are not limited to, program evaluation, assessment, and analysis; performance audits; public expenditure reviews; and ex post impact assessments. In some cases, a separate gender-sensitive evaluation may be undertaken, although it is more desirable to include the assessment of gender impacts in the regular evaluation processes.
“Gender impact evaluations provide important feedback on whether the policies achieved their objectives.”
Five countries in the sample (Fiji, Haiti, Norway, Tonga, and Ukraine) carry out ex post gender impact assessments, but these assessments are not fully integrated in the evaluation processes. They were implemented either on an ad hoc basis or as part of performance audits conducted by supreme audit institutions to review countries’ preparedness for implementing the SDGs or by development partners. They were not conducted by governments themselves.
The Standing Orders of 2019 of the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji states: ‘Where a committee conducts an activity listed in clause (1), the committee shall ensure that full consideration will be given to the principle of gender equality so as to ensure all matters are considered with regard to the impact and benefit on both men and women equally.’
Learn more about GRPFM indicator 9 ‘Legislative scrutiny of gender impacts of the budget. and how parliaments in Austria and Fiji engage in scrutiny from gender perspective.
In most countries, the legislature awards government the authority to spend through passage of the Annual Budget Law. Legislative budget scrutiny can include internal organizational arrangements that require budget parliamentary committees or dedicated gender policy committees to provide an analysis of the impact of the proposed budget policies on gender. These committees can be fully dedicated to the issue, or they can have a combined portfolio. Legislative budget scrutiny can also include public hearings as well as presentations by gender advocacy groups that provide technical support or requirements for gender impact assessments of budget policies.
The inclusion of gender impacts in the legislature’s review of budget proposals promotes the participation of men and women in the policy-making process and ensures that their voices are heard, and their priorities are reflected in government programs and services.
Fiji is the only country in the sample where the legislature scrutinizes budget proposals for their impact on gender and gender equality. The parliament has endorsed a standing order requiring parliamentary committees to apply a gender-based analysis when scrutinizing legislation or undertaking their oversight functions.