Gender responsive budgeting in South Asia and its implications for China: in respect of the cases of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

MA Caichen ZHANG Li

【Abstract】Gender responsive budgeting is critical for promoting gender equality and enhancing the precision of fiscal management. Most gender responsive budgeting initiatives in South Asia are guided by government and have been advancing in mutual promotion with government plans. Meanwhile, the selected gender responsive budgeting tools are appropriate in specific national contexts. Nevertheless, there are also problems, including the lack of female decision makers, participants failing to fully play their roles and serious gender inequality. China is presently entering a period of rapid development in its gender responsive budgeting, and can draw inspirations from South Asian experience such as emphasizing the development of gender audit and fully leveraging the participation of relevant stakeholders.

【Keywords】 South Asia; gender responsive budgeting; gender equality; public budget; medium-term budget framework;


【Funds】 the Major Project of the Open Fund of Shandong Research Institute of Women’s Human Resources Development and Management (ZD02).

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(Translated by LIU Peidong)


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    [4]. 3 South Asian countries include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives. This paper focuses on the GRB practice in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. [^Back]

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    [8]. 4 The Charter of Gender Budget Cells demands that a Gender Budget Cell should consist of a group of senior/middle level officers from the Plan, Policy, Coordination, Budget and Accounts Division of the ministry concerned. The Gender Budget Cells’ responsibilities include not only identifying the expenditures in Gender Budget Statements, but also carrying out gender-sensitive performance audit. Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance, India. 2007.pdf [^Back]

    [9]. 5 Gender Blindness means a lack of gender sensitivity, namely ignoring the difference between men’s and women’s needs and objectively causing restrictions on rights and opportunities of gender equality. For further discussion, see Lu, M. Gender Budget (性别预算). Chinese Taipei: Foundation for Women’s Rights and Development, 11–12 (2009). [^Back]

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    [15]. 2 The check list contains the following parts: background and justification, goal/objective, target group/stakeholders, strategy and activities, budgeting for equality, indicators for measuring outcomes and outputs, monitoring and evaluation. Each part contains different questions to determine whether effective integration has been achieved between PPS and GRB. See Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. Gender Budgeting Hand Book for Government of India Ministries and Departments, 34, 40–41 (2007). [^Back]

    [16]. 1 The format of Pakistan’s Gender Budget Statement is as follows: program name, sub-program name, gender-related items, planned activities, budget for previous and current financial year, inputs and outputs (including goals and outcomes), and overall assessment. This format is used to describe the 3–4 programs (or plans) in each department that contribute the most to gender equality. [^Back]

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    [25]. 1 Since 2005, areas like Jiaozuo in Henan Province, Zhangjiakou in Hebei Province and Wenling in Zhejiang Province have carried out pilot GRB actions, which have accumulated experience for the nation-wide GRB promotion. For further analysis, please refer to Ma, C., Wang, L. & Ji, Z. Journal of Central University of Finance & Economics (中央财经大学学报), (3): 1–5 (2009); Ma, C. Journal of Central University of Finance & Economics (中央财经大学学报), (8): 1–6 (2010); and Ma, C. Journal of Central University of Finance & Economics (中央财经大学学报), (9): 1–6 (2012). [^Back]

    [26]. 2 According to the Article 17 of the ordinance on gender equality promotion issued by the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, “a GRB system should be established and promoted. The municipal gender equality promotion institutions should, together with the municipal finance department, formulate and issue GRB guidelines and direct each department in carrying out GRB.” [^Back]

    [27]. 1 For example, in Pakistan’s 2007–2008 federal budget call circular, revisions targeted at GRB were made as follows. Gender-related objectives were integrated into ministerial policies; key output indicators were revised; services delivered to individuals were required to be disaggregated based on gender and age; and gender disaggregation of performance measures was also required. In the 2007–2008 budget call circular of the Punjab Province, revisions targeted at GRB were made as follows. Departments should point out in what aspect their services could benefit males or females; where three year goals refer to individuals, departments should include gender-related goals (e.g. moving towards gender-parity in school enrollment) and if possible, quantified gender-disaggregated indicators ; issues, including gender-related matters, that might affect departments in realizing their goals could be listed as “strategic issues”; any initiatives intended to promote gender equity or to address gender issues may be highlighted; and output and outcome indicators relating to individuals should be gender-disaggregated. Mahbub, N. & Budlender, D. Gender Responsive Budgeting in Pakistan: Experience and Lessons Learned, 2, 7–8 (2007). http://www. download&path=resources/by-region-country/asia-documents/gen-der-responsive-budgeting-in-pakistan-experience-and-lessons-learned&Itemid=543 [^Back]

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This Article


CN: 11-1306/C

Vol , No. 04, Pages 126-138+157

December 2014


Article Outline


  • 1 Commonalities of the South Asian GRB Model
  • 2 Challenges confronting South Asia’s GRB
  • 3 Enlightenment from South Asian GRB on China’s practice
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