Brilliant work from the Women’s Budget Group

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If any of you follow the Women’s Budget Group, you will have seen a huge growth in the amount of analysis that they are putting out. The general election and Brexit have been busy times with lots of new potential policies being proposed and therefore a lot of analysis needed.

The Women’s Budget Group has also grown in size with new staff and dedicated communications capacity which – as Chair for Communications – I have been delighted about!

I wanted to highlight two publications that I have not yet talked about on this blog.

The first is the Casebook for organisations hoping to do gender responsive budgeting. Funded by the Open Society Foundation, this casebook looks at how you might go about getting policy makers to consider gender in a methodical way when setting their budgets. Be it local, national or international government gender responsive budgeting is a whole-cycle approach. This means that you don’t just set a budget and consider what the impact is, but that you start with need and allocated budgets that way. It is also an approach that considers how stakeholders are included in the budget setting process and builds the capacity of policy makers to understand the impact of budget decisions revenue raisin (through for example tax) and spending decisions (through for example infrastructure like roads and rail but also tax breaks).

The first is the Casebook for organisations hoping to do gender responsive budgeting. Funded by the Open Society Foundation, this casebook looks at how you might go about getting policy makers to consider gender in a methodical way when setting their budgets.

Be it local, national or international government, gender responsive budgeting is a whole-cycle approach. This means that you don’t just set a budget and consider what the impact is, but that you start with need and allocate budgets that way. It is also an approach that considers how stakeholders are included in the budget setting process and builds the capacity of policy makers to understand the impact of budget decisions through revenue raising (for example tax) and spending decisions (for example infrastructure like roads and rail but also tax breaks).

Understanding how the process works is one thing, but what I really like about this casebook is that it considers the reality of trying to influence a government to do it! How do you make the argument? Where do you start? How do you analyse impact of budget decisions and what is the best way to communicate this? The casebook also details how the Women’s Budget Group got started and the lessons we have learned along the way. I will be really interested to find out more about how this casebook is used by other groups across the world.

Secondly, another stand out report was Intersecting Inequalities which highlighted the impact of austerity on Black and Minority Ethnic women in the UK. Traditionally much of the women’s sector has been terrible at properly analysing not just inequality experienced by women, but how certain groups of women are much worse off than others. I have used data from this report again and again because it also beautifully draws out how race and gender intersect and then how household income is a significant factor in the impact tax and spending changes might have on you. The poorer you are, the worse you are impacted by austerity.

A huge well done the Runnymede Trust and the Women’s Budget Group for this important piece of research.

The next task is to start undertaking truly intersectional analysis but currently, we lack tools and data. This type of analysis would allow us to look at race and gender, but also for example, how disability or sexuality might play a role and how all of these identities may combine (intersect!) to form long-lasting inequalities.

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