Feminist view of gender budgeting in Zimbabwe

Date: December 12, 2011
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Name of the story: Feminist view of gender budgeting in Zimbabwe

Name of publication: The Herald

Name of journalist/writer: Zimbabwe Women Resource Centre & Network (ZWRCN)

Date: 10 October 2011

Country: Zimbabwe

Theme: Gender equality, feminism, economics

Skills: Perspective, use of data

Genre: Analysis

Gem classification: Gender Aware

Allocating enough resources to women’s empowerment endeavours at national level is one important step to achieving gender equality in a country. It is imperative for government to have a gender responsive budget to adequately address the different needs of women and men. This media highlight analyses a newspaper article that critiques the national budget allocation in Zimbabwe from a gender perspective. The critique traces the budget process since 2007 when the Zimbabwe government adopted a gender budgeting and women’s empowerment strategy.

The headline is relevant and reflects the content of the article fairly by highlighting to the reader whose viewpoints are presented in the article

Article uses secondary sources. It is fair enough to use secondary sources in an analysis piece. The Biti quote is from a budget statement made in 2009. The statistics are from the previous year’s budgets. The feminists’ argument prominent throughout the article is that women’s issues are underfunded in Zimbabwe and this view is supported by unpacking previous budgets from 2007. An in-depth analysis supported by evidence is thus given by the writer.

The article did not use any sexist or stereotypical language. Instead, the story used very analytical and informative language. The article even analyses the language used in the budget. The story reads, “in relation to the formulation of national budgets, feminists ideologies help governments to adopt national policies and fiscal instruments that liberate women from economic oppression and other forms of discrimination.” The story dwells at length on the position that “gender budgeting challenges the assumption that macro-economics are inherently gender neutral by analyising and exposing the gender impact of the budget and seeking to reduce gender gaps through the generation and allocation of resources.”

Visual Images
Apart from an illustration of a woman reading, the story used no pictures. Nevertheless, the illustration is relevant to the piece considering that the article is critiquing national budgets from a gender perspective.

Story angle
The article predominantly illustrates feminists viewpoints of gender budgeting. Male voices are missing, with an exception of finance minister quoted in the analysis.
The article mainly reminds government authorities that gender equality activities are under resourced despite the country’s adoption of a gender budgeting strategy in 2007. The article reads: “Further, the 2012 National Budget will provide a test case for Government’s commitment towards gender equality and equity, having adopted gender budgeting as a women’s empowerment strategy back in 2007.The activists implicitly argue that underfunding of gender matters in the budget is frustrating women empowerment efforts.
The article further gives a perspective of what feminism is all about. It reads, “this week, we present to you a feminist viewpoint of gender budgeting. Feminism is more than just a struggle to do away with male dominance or to fight for women’s equality with men. It is about transforming mind sets of both women and men with respect to power sharing gender division of labour as well as allocation of resources.” The quote from Minister Biti, should walk the talk. Despite his statement, he does not allocate resources to address the challenges. Activists argue that money allocated to gender mainstreaming in all ministries is not sufficient. They also advocate for sex disaggregated targets, how many women and men will benefit. Even for civil society wages, how many women are employed as civil servants.
The activists further note that having gender budgeting as a policy alone cannot yield positive results unless if the society embraces it. “There is therefore need for societal transformation if gender budgeting can achieve the intended goals,” the article reads.

Placement and positioning
Besides placing it on top of the business page, the story was also was given substantial amount of space. This demonstrates that the issues tackled in the article were treated with utmost prominence by The Herald.

Training exercises
– Using an artefact of this analysis as an example, randomly pick three of your national budgets and pick three issues. Look at the allocations of these issues over the three years. Then write an analysis from a gender perspective motivate why gender budgeting is important.
– Debate on whether SADC countries should have a gender budgeting strategy. Draw up a gender responsive budget for one Ministry e.g. defence, higher education, agriculture.

Other training resources
Budgeting with a Gender Focus, a book written by Tanzania Gender Networking Programme where is this book
How to do a gender-sensitive budget analysis: Contemporary research and practice

Gender Budgeting: Myths and Realities, a presentation by Colleen Lowe Morna



One thought on “Feminist view of gender budgeting in Zimbabwe”

Dionne says:

good article….looking forward to gender sensitive budgets

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