Accountants back gender budgeting to boost equity, spur economic growth

Accountants back gender budgeting to boost equity, spur economic growth

By Victor Adar

To mark this year’s International Women’s Day, which was celebrated on March 8th, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) urged more governments to adopt the use of Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) to ensure that women and men benefit equally from the economic recovery out of Covid- 19, and to guarantee equity.

A recent report published by McKinsey shows that although women account for 39% of global employment, they also account for 54% of total job losses as a result of the pandemic.

“Women have suffered disproportionately as a result of the pandemic and GRB can help ensure that these inequalities are considered for a more inclusive recovery. But, to work effectively, GRB requires political commitment at the highest level, sufficient allocation of resources and robust capacity development at all levels,” says Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA.

Pre-COVID-19 data from Standard & Poor, launched at the 2019 World Economic Forum, found that if men and women participated equally in the labour market, the US economy would be 8.7% larger, the French economy 17% larger and the Japanese economy 14% larger.

To give it proper structure, governments should collect and analyse sex-disaggregated data to identify problems so that policies can be targeted effectively. The lack of an inclusive approach has been the major cause of instability, and governments must rethink their economic recovery policies, and public sector finance professionals can support governments and policymakers by providing them with the necessary data and tools to implement GRB effectively.

According to the United Nation’s global COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker, while 164 countries have GRB in some form, just 25, including India, New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago, have demonstrated a holistic approach by applying measures that address violence against women and women’s economic security.

“The role of the public sector finance professionals can be seen in every stage of the cycle – from initial analysis and budget design to the invaluable role of auditing in the final stage. The accountancy profession can, and should, play a key role in ensuring policymakers commit to gender equality and use GRB as a tool for effective implementation,” says Brand.

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