Bhutan makes a renewed commitment towards Gender Responsive Budgeting
3 day meeting draws high-level commitments for gender budgeting
Thimpu — Giving gender budgeting the high level response it deserves, the Royal Government of Bhutan hosted a two-day High Level Meeting on Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) supported by the United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office and UN Women South Asia . With the National Commission for Women and Children and Ministry of Finance leading the discussions, the event was presided by Chief Guest Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba, Minister for Works and Human Settlement who highlighted the importance of gender equality for Bhutan.
“The government has always supported gender equality and equity in Bhutan. Women in Bhutan have better equity rights than other women in the South Asian region. While there has been a lot of improvements due to greater awareness and capability, a lot more needs to be done,” said Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba.
There has been progress on legislation for women in Bhutan. The Inheritance Act, which is an example of women’s empowerment in Bhutan, reduces women’s dependency on their spouse, and gives them a home and security.
“The upcoming 11th Five Year Plan will incorporate gender mainstreaming as well as focused gender responsive budgeting, in order to address priority areas such as education, employment with focus on female unemployment as well as governance and decision-making,” he added.
Long term budgets for women
The meeting helped officials from government ministries to understand gender budgeting better and increase their knowledge about it. They acknowledged that gender responsive budgeting can help to increase accountability, that will in turn help to generate a positive impact on policy advocacy and programming in the long term. “We need to look at long term solutions. Gender-responsive budgeting is not a charity budget—it is an equity budget,” said Yamini Mishra, Regional Gender Budgeting Advisor, UN Women South Asia.
She explained that it entails identifying and reflecting needed interventions to address gender gaps in sector and local government policies, plans and budgets. GRB also aims to analyze the gender-differentiated impact of revenue-raising policies and the allocation of domestic resources and Official Development Assistance.
Presentations were made on the experiences of India and Malaysia. The Department of National Budget also presented Bhutan’s Budgeting Process.
The Royal Government of Bhutan is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) August 1981, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) May 1990, the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Millennium Development Goals, demonstrating the country’s commitment to pursue women’s empowerment and gender equality in the country.
This high level event also saw the attendance of the Minister of Education, the Minister of Labour and the Ambassador of Bangladesh amongst other senior government officers, development partners and Civil Society Organizations in their support for gender activities in the country.