An autonomous research institute under the Ministry of Finance


Fiscal Decentralisation and Local Level Gender Responsive Budgeting

Publication date

Jan, 2007


Report submitted to the UNIFEM – European Commission


M. Govinda Rao, Amaresh Bagchi, Lekha S. Chakraborty


The study examined the fiscal decentralisation process through a gender lens in selected five countries; viz., Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, South Africa, and India. The study noted that if the budgetary process is to yield significant benefits for women, gender budgeting in the narrow sense of earmarking a minimum fraction of expenditure of every government department might not be very helpful. Given that most of the public services that concern women or address their needs are by and large delivered at the local level, the first requirement for gender orientation of a government budget is to empower local governments adequately to take care of these concerns, that in turn implies decentralisation in the true sense and not just as a matter of form. While all the countries surveyed have attempted to move in the direction of gender budgeting, progress in the matter of fiscal decentralisation and women’s empowerment has been uneven across countries. The message reflected through these studies is that if gender concerns are to be effectively attended through the budget process, decentralisation in the true form must be followed i.e., without any problems of unfunded mandates and with adequate feminisation of local governance and effective voice in public expenditure decisions.

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