19th January 2023, Islamabad – Women’s Parliamentary Caucus has launched the summary paper on “Gender Budgeting in Pakistan”. The purpose of summary paper for Women’s Parliamentary Caucus is to put forward key strategies and methodologies for implementation of Gender Budgeting in Pakistan. This paper will serve as a source of inspiration and guidance for further work, especially for WPC but also for other institutions interested in promoting a coherent approach in Gender Budgeting work including civil society.
Dr. Shahida Rehmani, in her inaugural remarks, said that WPC has been working dedicatedly to institutionalize the gender budgeting process. This strategy paper is the first step towards the process. She highlighted that to better understand the public spending, we need a gender lens to analysis it. In addition, involving women in the budget-making process can ensure that their perspectives and needs are taken into account that policies and programs are responsive to their needs. Dr Rehmani also highlighted that in Financial Budget for FY2022-2023, majority of the financial amendments were from Women MPs.
Dr. Rehmani concluded her speech by reiterating that investing in women and girls is not only a moral and social obligation but mandatory for true empowerment of women.
According to Marion Böker, author of the strategy paper, it means “to apply the gender perspective to the budget and to realize equality of all genders, women, men and transgender.” Administrative budgets, such as the one developed by Parliament, allocate money to various entities, but not all benefits are distributed equally, and not everyone is affected in the same way if funds are used differently. For example, cuts to healthcare budgets can disproportionately affect women, as care work is typically done by women.
Dr. Elisabeth Klatzer has identified areas where Pakistan needs to take a more gender-inclusive approach to budgeting. One potential area for achieving greater gender equality is through the agriculture sector. New investments in farming can create opportunities to improve working conditions and pay for women, who are often employed in agriculture under poor conditions and low pay.
Honorable Raja Pervez Ashraf, Speaker of the National Assembly, was present at the event. He emphazised: “Empowered women make impowered nations. Without strong women, democracy cannot work. I thank FES and the WPC for their valuable work and standing up for equality in the federal budget.”