Gender Responsive Budgeting: Legal and institutional framework is sufficient but implementation gaps persist

Our study on Gender-Responsive Budgeting evaluates whether the decisions on public investment on women’s economic empowerment are evidence based. This study targeted the national government sectors as a whole and largely relied on secondary data of recurrent and development expenditure from various budget document, that is supplemented by primary data from key informant interviews to generate key findings, conclusions and key recommendations.

Some of the key findings include:

  1. The existing legal and institutional framework is sufficient to promote gender responsive budgeting. However, there are implementation gaps across the budget cycle which need to be addressed.
  2. Data gaps limit efforts to track progress towards gender equality and quantify contribution of women to the economy. As at December 2020, UN Women reported that only 41.8% of indicators needed to monitor the sustainable development goals from a gender lens were available. The largest gaps were in areas of unpaid care/ domestic work and key labour market indicators. In addition, many areas such as gender and poverty, physical and sexual harassment and women’s access to assets lack comparable methodologies for regular monitoring. Closing these gender data gaps is a predecessor for achievement of gender equality in Kenya.
  3. The gender responsive budgeting guideline is clear on the definition and processes towards achieving GRB. There is poor translation of these guidelines as existing gender gaps are addressed through specific need-based programmes and initiatives. The best alternative policy tool is gender responsive budgeting. Women empowerment initiatives are limited to certain sectors (mostly health, social protection and education sectors), yet gender gaps exist across all sectors and aspect of the society. Gender responsive budgeting on the other hand is a wholistic multi sectoral approach to ensure government spending addresses the needs and interests of all groups.
  4. Lack of gender disaggregated data as a limitation towards assessing the impact of the various women economic empowerment initiatives. Despite Kenya’s vision 2030 stating that the government will pursue gender mainstreaming in its policies, plans, budgets and programmes, women empowerment is still tied to initiatives.

Key Impacts of the study:

The study generated a lot of debate on the finance bill 2023 on taxation measures as proposed by the National Treasury. Institute of Economic Affairs-Kenya shared a taxation proposal on abolishing excise taxes on wigs because there is a substantial number of Kenyans who wear wigs not for luxurious consumption but because of the results of life-saving treatment such as chemotherapy.

The Finance committee of the National Assembly, in the spirit of public participation shared a feedback in form of a report which is publicly available in the National Assembly website.

Read more on the findings and recommendations of the study on the website: weehub.ku.ac.ke

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