GENDER BUDGETING IN TURKEY
It is now a decade since Gender Budgeting (GB), initiated by policy transfer activities of European NGOs and/or UN agencies, has been introduced as a novel approach in Turkey. The contribution of these training or conference activities at the early stages was more focused on Gender Mainstreaming, but later, they served as leverage for gender budgeting rhetoric at central government level and, more imprtantly, for gender budgeting activities at local government level. The 10th Development Plan (2014-2018) targets empowerment of women with reference to “preservation of the traditional family structure”, hence, it overshadows the unparalleled/first-time commitment to Gender Budgeting in this same plan. On the one hand, the Ministry of Finance has not been involved. On the other hand, the local administration reforms introduced by UN agencies in collaboration with several ministries over time progressed to also include Gender Budgeting aspects very recently, the outcomes of which will be observed in the near future. We (assisted by I. Gumuscan and M. Kahveci) conducted a research project during 2013-2014, testing whether inclusion in the WFC project of the UN made a difference in the budget composition towards improving women’s capabilities. We gender audited policy documents of 5 WFC and 5 non-WFC municipalities, we de-constructed their budgets adopting the capability approach and interviewed both service providers and women beneficiaries. The results are mixed: The socio-cultural structure and the political environment are very much determining and in terms of budget priorities the WFC status is not outstanding. Hence the overall picture is controversial. At central level, the prospects for committing to GB are dim. Yet, there are a dozen (out of 81) city municipalities which included in 2015 policy targets with budget allocations in their performance programmes. We are faced with the rhetoric vs reality challenge with regard to sustainability of GB in the very near future in Turkey.
For interested readers, see: Gunluk-Senesen, G., Yucel, Y., Yakar-Onal, A., Yakut-Cakar, B. and Ergunes, N. (2015). ‘Gender budgeting in Turkey: An assessment of local practices from the well-being perspective’. PoliticaEconomica – Journal of Economic Policy (PEJEP-Il Mulino), XXXI (2): 175-194.
Prof. Gunluk Senesen is a professor at the Faculty of Political Sciences, Istanbul University and Director of the Istanbul University Research Center for Global Politics and Administration.