Advancing gender equality through the budget: Latin American experiences with gender-responsive budgeting

Advancing gender equality through the budget: Latin American experiences with gender-responsive budgeting

Latin America is leading the way in gender-responsive budgeting and is producing some insightful lessons for other regions of the world.Gender inequality is particularly prevalent in developing regions where it prevents millions of women from exercising the basic human rights they are entitled to. In recent years, governments around the world have begun implementing gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) in an attempt to reduce gender gaps. In the Latin America region, legal and administrative reforms have paved the way for the development of innovative GRB tools and participatory mechanisms that are helping to ensure that women’s priorities and needs are incorporated into national and local budgets. Civil society has played a key role in this entire process by providing technical expertise, lobbying governments and monitoring GRB outcomes.

This Brief begins by presenting an overview of gender inequality and the evolution of GRB in Latin America, before analysing four key features of the Latin American approach to GRB. Given the current lack of evidence on GRB impacts, this Brief outlines some initial outcomes in order to draw lessons for other regions, while also identifying the contextual elements that have helped to drive forward GRB across Latin America.

Key Lessons:

  • gnder-responsive budgeting is a long-term process as it implies changing the way in which public servants have budgeted for decades. Various Latin American experiences point to the importance of training public servants on gender and budgets, so that they are aware of how their work can contribute to achieving gender equality
  • civil society can drive forward the implementation of GRB in various ways, including by raising awareness of the issues, training public servants, developing budget analysis methodologies and tools, lobbying policymakers, and by tracking public spending
  • GRB initiatives are more likely to succeed if they build on other on-going reforms and participatory mechanisms. In Latin America, many GRB initiatives have been strengthened by tapping into existing participatory budgeting schemes

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