What is the evidence on the impact of gender-responsive budgeting on gender outcomes and on resource distribution within government bodies, in developing countries? Where possible, identify the key requirements for success and lessons learned in gender-responsive budgeting.
Gender-responsive budgeting has been applied by a few dozen developing
countries since the mid-1980s, though to very different extents and in
diverse forms. It is difficult to identify what its impact has been on
gender outcomes and on resource distribution within government, due to a
limited evidence base and to complexity in assessing and interpreting
Nevertheless, some findings have emerged. Gender-responsive budgeting is
generally seen as having had a mixed impact, with some positive outcomes
and some cases where no impact is established (there is no evidence of
any negative effects). There is no meta-review available, and evidence
of impact is based on case studies. Positive outcomes include:
- Better dynamics for gender equality in budget processes. Awareness,
capacities and data related to gender equality have often been
increased, and budget transparency, accountability and participation
- Improved gender outcomes in budgets, policies and service delivery.
This was achieved when gender-responsive budgeting was used in
conjunction with other strategies, methods and tools for gender
equality. Examples includes cross-sectoral budget changes and sectoral
The literature identifies various factors that affect the impact of
- Obstacles include: the lack of sex-disaggregated data and of data on
gender relations; limited capacity and resources for such a complex
task; and gaps in action (e.g. on the revenue side) and
- Enabling factors include: securing sustained support for
gender-responsive budgeting; engendering the entire budget process and
economic policy; ensuring practical feasibility; building capacities;
supporting women’s participation in planning and budgeting; and
linking gender issues with other structural inequalities.
Combaz, E. Impact of gender-responsive budgeting (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 977). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2013) 14 pp.