The budget is the most important policy tool of government because without money, government cannot implement any other policy successfully. A Gender Responsive Budget (GRB) ensures that the needs and interests of individuals from different social groups are addressed. GRB has emerged as an important and widespread strategy for scrutinizing government budgets for their contribution to gender equality. They have utilised a variety of tools and processes to assess the impact of government expenditures and revenues on the social and economic position of man, woman, boys and girls. Most governments have committed to gender equality and gender mainstreaming objectives but there is a gap between policy commitments and implementation in which government raises and spends money. Gender responsive budget initiatives can help to close these gaps, ensuring that public money is raised and spent more effectively.
GRB is a tool and process designed to facilitate gender analysis in the formulation of government budgets and the allocation of resources keeping in view the impact on man, woman, boys and girls the steps of GRB include situation analysis, see whether the policy is gender sensitive, whether adequate budget is allocated, whether allocated amount is spent. GRB is about including a gender perspective into the existing national budget to ensure that it is gender sensitive and that it addresses the needs and interests of different groups of citizens, woman and man, the goals of gender responsive budgets can vary according to the particular political and social context of the country and the institutional arrangements underpinning their implementation (Bud lender 2002).
Gender responsive budgeting is a new concept in Bangladesh. Therefore Ministry of Finance (MOF) has taken some measures for strengthening the capacity of the relevant officials of MTBF Ministries and MOF that can help them in effectively responding to BC-1 including the P&G issues Finance Division has provided training on P&G to their Budget Desk officers responsible for supporting the MTBF Ministries. For building capacity, MOF has also been providing training to the relevant staff members of the MTBF Ministries. Finance Division developed poverty and gender guidelines for filling up the P& G Section. Policy Leadership and Advocacy for Gender Equality Project (PLAGE11) of Ministry of Women and Children Affairs worked with Finance Division of MOF aiming at the objective that the support provided to MOF linked to engendering the Medium Term Budgetary Framework (MTBF) in complementarities with their regular activities. The technical assistance linked with Finance Division of MOF can be defined as a holistic or integrated approach the activities are very closely linked with one another.
The key officials related with budget preparation from the MTBF Ministries participated in a series of Gender-Responsive Budgeting (GRB) workshops contributed to building capacity of officials of MTBF Ministries/Departments/Agencies on gender issues responsible for completing the BC-1(under MTBF). The workshops provided an opportunity for participants to acquire better understanding of GRB and Gender-Based Analysis (GBA) as a tool for engendering the MTBF process senior officials of Finance Division of MOF were strategically involved to conduct workshop sessions on GRB and BDOs worked as resource persons in conducting the group exercises and providing hands-on supports. Hands-on support sessions of one to two hours were conducted with MTBF Ministries. These addressed the need for greater emphasis on practical application rather than theoretical learning. In these sessions the officers of the selected ministries and agencies practiced and internalized the skills developed in the GRB. The participants were the members of the budget working groups, (BWGs) and budget wings (BWs) of the selected (MTBF) ministries, BDOs were the main facilitators in these sessions the objectives of, hands on support, were to assist ministries in filling out form 4 of BG-1 in relation to assessing the gender impact of project, programme activities in relation to 14 standards as spelled out in the BG-1, some booklets on Gender Responsive Budgeting MTBF and 14 impact measurement standards were developed from time to time doth in English and Bangladesh by this project provided information to government officials and civil society about government initiatives in making gender responsive budget and to facilitate citizens, including encouraging women participation in the budgeting process.
Gender based analysis and gender responsive budget is a new concept in Bangladesh. The results of the gender responsive budgets would be limited if the government officials responsible for implementing them ignore the socially determined position of man and women. So it is necessary to train them in assessing existing problems, designing gender responsive policies/programmes, allocating resources. Developing indicators, collecting data and implementing /managing actual programmes are needed. Otherwise the meaning of “mainstreaming gender into the budget” can be lost at functional levels of the government despite being supported at the top. It is also important that training outcomes are evaluated. As all the Ministries/Divisions are now brought under the MTBF process all the GOB officials of all the Ministries/Divisions must be trained on these issues.
TOT is needed for their Faculty Members/Resource Persons of Government Training Institutions, e g, Public Administrative Training Centre (PATC), National Academy for Training and Development (NATD), National Academy for Educational Management (NAEM) and BCE Academy and, integration of GRB into their relevant regular courses for example, foundation courses for different cadre officers. Through TOT it would be possible to form a trainers’ core group.
Clear guidelines including clear instructions for gender based analysis is needed to train the deserving candidates. With the leadership of Ministry of Women and Children Affairs (MOWCA), Ministry of Finance (MOF) and Ministry of Planning/Planning Commission (MOP/PC) could give support jointly in introducing and/or refining frameworks and formats requiring ministries/agencies/divisions to integrate gender-based analysis and gender-specific inputs and targets into project/programme budgeting and planning documents. The integration of gender concerns into Ministries/Divisions programmes/projects and ensuring that budget allocations are made to adequately address gender issues is a vital process to achieve results.
Preparation of DPP/TPP with little or no gender analysis is a major problem. There is a need to ascertain the gender responsiveness of these projects/programmes. Ministries/divisions/agencies can be instructed to apply relevant checklists/guidelines for design and for projects/programme implementation, management and monitoring and evaluation. GBA and GRB are not just some technical processes or matters of compliance. Expressing commitment at high levels is crucial in order to set government machinery into motion.
Bangladesh is being recognized by the international community for its efforts to implement and institutionalize Gender Responsive Budgeting. Through the MTBF approach the government continues to intensify its efforts to prepare national budgets in line with its gender and poverty strategy, previously reflected in NSAPR II and in the current draft Sixth Five Year Plan (SYFP).
Bangladesh has made notable advancement in the last few years in gender budgeting. At present all the line ministries/divisions have brought under gender-based analysis. There is a strong commitment of the Government of Bangladesh on gender equality and gender mainstreaming commitments. The participation of the all the stakeholders is needed to carry forward this initiatives and for further advancement. We hope that GRB and SFYP will further strengthen the implementation of GRB in Bangladesh and would help in the process of mainstream gender responsive resource allocation in government budgetary system in a sustainable manner.