Global Resources

Gender dimensions of expenditure and revenue policy and systems

Author: J Birchall, M Fontana
Publisher: BRIDGE
Publication Date: Apr 2015

Most governments have expressed a commitment to gender equality goals but there are often inconsistencies between policy statements and the ways in which public finances are raised and spent. Most governments have also expressed a commitment to greater transparency and accountability. Participation and consultation in the formulation of a country’s budget is still often limited, however, so that the different priorities of women are not fully reflected in the way finances are actually allocated and used.

This BRIDGE brief , funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), discusses the gender dimensions of both the design and implementation of fiscal policies with the aim of identifying approaches that are likely to advance equality between different groups of women and men. It examines how public money can be collected and used in more gender equitable ways.

The first part of the briefing deals with taxation and expenditure policies, explaining why these are not to be regarded as ‘gender neutral’ and asking what tax and expenditure mixes are more likely to reduce inequalities. The second part deals with gender inclusive public finance management (PFM) and implementation, considering how PFM reforms could integrate lessons from gender responsive budgeting (GRB) initiatives. It also makes suggestions on dealing with gendered barriers within revenue administration systems, and discusses the importance of including a range of actors in the processes of finance reforms, in order to strengthen efforts to make both policies and systems more gender equitable, and ultimately, gender transformative.

The brief concludes with a series of recommendations, divided into those around policies, systems, evidence and actors.