DAOUDA TOURE, UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana, has reiterated UNDP's commitment to supporting Ghana to bring into fruition its gender budgeting policy.
“Gender Budgeting is important to the work of UNDP and indeed the entire UN system in its efforts to support governments achieve sustainable and equitable human development.”
Mr Toure, who was addressing a day's seminar on Gender Responsive Budgeting held in Accra, stressed that gender budgeting was a way of ensuring that budget allocations reflect the differential needs of men and women based on an analysis of the needs of each group.
The seminar, dubbed “The Benefit of Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Accelerated Growth and Poverty Reduction Agenda of the Government of Ghana”, was organised by the Ministries of Women & Children's Affairs (MOWAC), Finance & Economic Planning (MOFEP) and others.
It was to enable stakeholders understand what Gender Responsive Budgeting was and its role in accelerated growth and poverty reduction agenda in Ghana.
It was also to expose policy makers, planners and resource allocation institutions to its enormous benefits, help them familiarize themselves with the step by step approaches involved in gender responsive budgeting process, and finally help them to draw lessons from good practices and challenges of other countries.
According to Mr Toure, the implementation of the gender budget policy would enable citizens to hold governments accountable for their commitment to gender equality and women's rights.
The budget, as one of a country's most important economic instruments, he said, expresses government's relationship with its people and could be used in ways that demonstrate national commitment to empower citizens.
“It is also a reflection of the political will within a country to confront the socio-cultural, economic and developmental challenges it faces,” he noted.
The Deputy Minister of Finance, Prof. Gyan-Baffour in his keynote address, said the establishment of MOWAC demonstrates Government's commitment to gender equality and women's socio-economic empowerment.
He said if gender inequality gaps exist and the budget does not address them, then that budget was gender blind or gender insensitive to development change.
He noted that the gender responsive budget will help analyze any form of public expenditure, or method of raising revenue from the perspective of gender relations and identify the implications.
“In fact a Gender Responsive Budget is one that is fair to both women and men, rich or poor,” he stressed.
A Gender Consultant and Capacity Building Expert, Mrs. Patience Agyare Kwabi in her presentation on Operational Definition of Gender Budgeting and its benefits to Ghana's Accelerated Growth Development, explained that unequal gender relations that leave women and girls in a subordinated position still prevail in Ghana despite all efforts to curb them hence the need for the policy.
She noted that over 40 countries including Australia, Tanzania and South Africa were piloting the gender budgeting initiative.
The Minister for Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), Hajia Alima Mahama, stressed that the institutional arrangements needed to achieve the desired benefits were very crucial hence the need for the various Parliamentary Committees on Finance to monitor the process through gender lens.
“What is required of us all is specific actions to give meaning to this drive and achieve time-bound outcomes for the benefit of all of us,” she said. By Henrietta Abayie