Women’s eyes on the budget

Date: January 1, 1970
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In this article Zambia’s Minister of Women’s Affairs, Rosemary Banda, says the time has come for Zambia to have a national budget that takes into consideration all gender issues to effectively uplift the economic status of women who are the most disadvantaged.

This article may be used to:
1. Provide an example of a gender aware article that understands that women comprise the majority of economically disadvantaged people in any society due to unequal gender relations.
2. Show the gender dynamics around budgetary allocations in Zambia in particular and the world in general
Trainer’s notes
Economic and financial reporting is one area from which a gendered analysis is often missing. This specialised world remains largely a male preserve. Women, in general, own or manage only a small proportion of listed wealth. Women’s budget initiatives in many Southern African countries have been developed to assess the impact of public spending on gender imperatives. This article is aware of the issues highlighted above and therefore expresses the need for a more gender-focused budgetary process. It mentions that all ministries in Zambia have to ensure that their budgets are prepared on gender lines before submission to the ministry of finance national budget office.
In most societies, women make up the majority of poor people because of unequal access to things like education, gainful or formal employment, and a lack of rights in terms of marriage, holding property and accessing finance. As a case in point, most shack-dwellers are female. It is always important that there be gender disaggregating of statistics before any endeavours can be made to try and advance women economically. The last decade has seen more women engaging in economic activities, something that the media has not always reflected. This article however, realises that while women are still at a disadvantage, they have made definite gains, and are successfully entering into spheres they have previously not had access to.
The story is told mostly from the perspective of the Minister of Women’s Affairs and to a lesser extent another woman, an employee of the Lusaka City Council. While the sourcing is generally good, it does imply that only women take up gender issues. Men also have a responsibility to examine gender issues, and the media should attempt to gain the perspectives of those men.
Discussion questions
1. What does the article say about gender and the budgetary process?
2. Are women in your community active economic players? Why or why not?
3. Why do you think women make up the majority of poor in Africa?
4. Do you have gender ministry/women’s affairs ministry in your country? If so what is its role? Is it effective?
Training Exercises
1. Find out how budgets in your country are decided. Has gender been mainstreamed into the budgetary process? If it is not, write a letter to your MP or local paper encouraging them to factor gender into government budgeting. If it has, how effective is it? Could it be done better?
2. Conduct a survey among men and women in your community. Do they think the government is doing enough to achieve gender equality? Why or why not?
Links to other training resources
Business Unusual: Gender and the economy

Download : women eye budget

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