Anna Zachorowska is Erasmus Coordinator at the Institute of Economics, Finance and Management der Jagiellonian University, Poland.
- What made you get active in Gender Budgeting? What do your present activities in this area look like?
I am an academic whose main area of research is feminist economics. I am writing mainly about macroeconomics and gender. Since I was theoretically interested in this subject in 2012, a group of human rights activists from Krakow asked me to become a part of project concerned with the city of Krakow. This a group of activists we have prepared a gender budget of the city of Krakow.
- Could you please summarise your experiences with Gender Budgeting in national projects.
The project that I was personally involved in was a national project concentrated on the second biggest city in Poland – Krakow. Additionally I was also involved in the report concerning the possibility of adoptation of Austrian gender responsive budgeting in Poland, within the European project Exchange of good practices on gender equality.
- Which Gender Budgeting approach is being adopted?
In the gender budget analyses performed by the Krakow team we have used a simple model of the analysis of expenditures and revenues, with the greater accent of expenditures. The model adopted have been inspired by Budlener, D. (2004), and Elson, Diane (2002).
- Are there any legal stipulations on Gender Budgeting in your country?
In Poland there are no legal stipulations for any kind of human rights budgeting including gender.
- What are – in your mind – the reasons for Gender Budgeting being pursued to a higher/lesser degree in some European countries/your country as compared to others?
It is the matter of political will of authorities in first place, and the strength of activist movement. Gender budgeting is one of the initiatives concerned with gender equity, which promotes the development of society as well as economy. However it is a role of activists to bring this to a light. Authorities should implement legal stipulations to make gender responsive budgeting initiatives every day reality.
- Which are the main challenges to consider prior to implementing Gender Budgeting at local/national level?
The main challenges are different groups of interests that would not consider gender budgeting an important matter. They could put forward ideological arguments (gender controversy), or financial ones (too expensive) to stop the initiative. Groups of interests could also point at the possibility to analyse budgets from a different perspective, not necessarily gender.
In the case of gender analyses we have performed in Krakow, the biggest obstacle was an access to data. Officials, even though obliged by law to share public information, were reluctant to share data considering expenditures and revenues of the city budget. They considered these data as sensitive ones. We have also planned to make interviews with officials responsible for Krakow’s budget, and we were not able to perform them. The head of budget commission agreed to send us written answers, but was not willing to talk with us. Nobody from the commission would involve in the dialogue with us, due to the lack of authorisation on the head side.
- Which role does politics play when it comes to Gender Budgeting (as carried out in your country for example)?
They need to start the process of implementing gender budgeting initiatives in national legislation. Their role is also to promote such initiatives on different levels.
- Which role does the public administration play when it comes to Gender Budgeting (as carried out in your country for example)?
Their role is to make the process possible. Public administration need to make the access to data easier. Public administration could also conduct gender budgeting, if such a task is assigned to it.
- Which role does the academia play when it comes to Gender Budgeting (as carried out in your country for example)?
Academia such provide the models as well as rationale for the gender budgeting.
- Which role does civil society play when it comes to Gender Budgeting (as carried out in your country for example)?
The role of civil society is to promote the idea of gender budgets, and when they are implemented in national legislation, their role is to monitor the process.
- How can participation by civil society be encouraged? Shall it be promoted at all?
The participation of civil society should be promoted by project initiatives, or grant possibilities. Activists would most possibly get involved, but financial support, as well as the need to disseminate the idea of gender budgets (through workshops, trainings), could make the involvement easier.
- How can participation by the academia be encouraged? Shall it be promoted at all?
In case of academia, it is probably the most independent actor, but access to financial sources (research grants) would make research in this area easier.
- How can participation by other players be encouraged? Shall it be promoted at all?
The involvement of both public administration and politicians is crucial to make the gender budget initiatives possible. Politicians should be encouraged by civil society, and they on the other hand should encourage public administration to get involved in these initiatives.
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