Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Budgeting
Equal treatment of both sexes and the right to equal participation in all spheres of life are fundamental human rights. A key condition for putting democracy into practice is that all members of society - women and men - must have the same opportunities to participate in all spheres of political, economic, social, and cultural life. Not until de facto equality of women and men has become reality will it be possible to reconcile job and family and/or private life.
Austria has made a firm commitment, both legally and politically, to achieve gender equality at all levels. Since 1998, the commitment to gender equality is enshrined in the Austrian Federal Constitution. In order to establish and enhance gender mainstreaming, significant steps have been taken since 2000 by resolutions of the Council of Ministers. In six Council of Ministers resolutions, the Austrian federal government has committed itself to implementing the gender mainstreaming strategy, the goal of which is a gender-equitable society and true equality between women and men.
- 2000: Establishment of the Inter-ministerial Working Group on Gender Mainstreaming (IMAG GM)
- 2002: Working program for the implementation of Gender Mainstreaming
- 2004: Definition of Gender Mainstreaming-meta-goals, e.g. consideration of the gender perspective in all budgetary policy measures of the federal ministries
- 2008: Use of the guide on gender budgeting in public administration
- 2011: Sustainable implementation of gender mainstreaming in five key priority areas: the successful application of gender budgeting should be systematically continued
- 2020: On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of gender mainstreaming, the government has committed to actively support the anniversary year 2020 and continue to comprehensively implement the gender mainstreaming strategy
- Since 2000, the IMAG GMB supports and facilitates the implementation of gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting in all federal ministries and at all political levels. Its members include all federal ministries as well as other important public institutions (such as the Constitutional Court).
Gender budgeting is the fiscal tool of the gender mainstreaming strategy. In addition to the explicit commitment to the equality between women and men, pursuing the aim of establishing the equality between women and men was also included in the Austrian Constitution as a budgetary principle as part of the outcome orientation on the federal state and municipality level in the year of 2009. Since 2009, the objective of de facto equality between women and men in the context of budgetary planning is enshrined in the Federal Constitution (Article 13, para. 3). Since 2013, gender budgeting must be applied at federal level.
Gender Mainstreaming in Legislation
The main purpose of gender mainstreaming in legislation is to ensure that legal norms will not exacerbate let alone provoke gender-specific discrimination, since laws and regulations are not gender neutral. Hence, one and the same regulation may impact differently on the 2 sexes.
Regulatory impact assessments include short to medium-term outcome objectives, measures, indicators, an ex-ante assessment and ex-post evaluation of possible impacts in specific impact dimensions. Impact dimensions are policy fields. One of the impact dimensions is the equality between women and men. Therefore, all new or amended laws and regulations as well as major investment or procurement contracts on the federal level must be analyzed for their impact on the equality between women and men. In the framework of impact assessment the gender dimension has to be considered whether the outcome is substantial or not and in case there are substantial consequences for gender equality it is then subject to an in-depth assessment. The evaluation of the impacts on gender equality is part of the annual evaluation report on regulatory impact assessments which is submitted to parliament annually.
Guidance Gender Budgeting in Public Administration
Full gender equality postulates that women and men are equally able to benefit from the goods, resources and opportunities provided by society. Among the available resources are the public budgets of the federation, the states (laender), and the municipalities, which impact directly on society and the economy in the form of policies translated into figures.
In order to enable women and men to share all financial and material resources of the state in a more equitable way, it is necessary to conduct gender-specific budget analyses. This is where gender budgeting comes in.
To assist in the practical application of gender budgeting in public administration, this Guidance will help identify discrepancies in the impact of public revenue and expenditure on women and men. The objective is to pinpoint implications for gender relations, to shift priorities and to redistribute resources. The ultimate goal is to develop a gender-sensitive and gender-equitable budget.
The present Guidance is designed to foster the targeted and efficient implementation of gender budgeting in public administration. It is primarily addressed to the budget developers in individual ministries and also to those responsible for drawing up inter-ministerial budgets.