Ukraine signs gender budgeting into law

1 Feb 19

Gender budgeting will improve public services for both women and men in Ukraine, its finance minister has told PF International after signing it into law.

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Ukrainian finance minister Oksana Markarova.

Ukraine’s Ministry of Finance of Ukraine has made gender-responsive budgeting a legal requirement from January. This means national and regional agencies will have to analyse their funding allocations from a gender perspective.

Finance minister Oksana Markarova told PF International that gender-responsive budgeting was a “substantial systemic change” for the country and should be part of the budget process.

“The majority of public services today are provided to an average person in an average community,” she said.

“[Gender-responsive budgeting] is about understanding that we should not stick to [a] unified approach. It is not about how to spend more money on women; it is about how to provide the service for women, men, children, elderly people and people with special needs properly.”

The finance ministry said the new approach would include analysis of the effectiveness of public services provided under budget programmes.

Ukraine piloted gender responsive budgeting in 2013 through a programme sponsored by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, as part of wider public financial management reforms.

Catharina Schmitz, director of gender equality at Niras, the Swedish consultancy contracted to lead the programme, told PF International that mandatory gender budgeting was a “major milestone” for Ukraine.

Schmitz said the finance ministry wanted to “move its public financial management agenda on” to include a gender perspective.

More than 2,000 Ukrainian civil servants have been trained in gender-responsive budgeting and more than 110 national and local programmes analysed, according to the programme website.

The project is one of the biggest and most comprehensive in the world, in terms of scale, time and donor support.

Ermira Lubani, UN Women’s regional project manager for South East Europe, told PF International that legislating for gender-responsive budgeting was “extremely important” and the “only way it can be done properly”.

She added: “We want gender equality to be included in funding priorities; unless you put it into budget law and PFM reform, it will be impossible to get done.”

A number of countries, including in the West Balkans, have already enshrined gender-responsive budgeting in law.

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