Chapter

Chapter 3. Asia and Pacific

Editor(s):
Lisa Kolovich
Published Date:
April 2018
Share
  • ShareShare
Show Summary Details
Author(s)
Lisa Kolovich and Prakash Loungani 

Despite Asia’s progress over the past several decades in closing gender gaps in education, health, economic, and political outcomes, women and girls continue to encounter barriers relative to men. Gender gaps also continue in labor force participation, political representation, and health outcomes.1 To address these gender gaps, countries have implemented gender budgeting, which originated in Australia in the early 1980s and has since spread to more than 80 countries around the world.

This chapter summarizes the experiences of four countries in the Asia and Pacific region with well-developed gender budgeting initiatives—Australia, India, Korea, and the Philippines—and analyzes several gender inequality outcomes in those countries.2 As in other regions, these four countries’ efforts vary in terms of design, implementation strategies, legal framework, and partner involvement.3 Nevertheless, several commonalities exist and provide insight into lessons learned.

Overview of the Region: Gender Inequality and Fiscal Context

Gender budgeting efforts are motivated by a combination of considerations, including a basic sense of fairness and the view that a greater role for women in economic and public life has the potential to contribute significantly to economic growth and stability in the region. Eliminating gender inequalities can lead to better health outcomes for women and children, increased female labor force participation, and faster economic growth, and fairer and more stable societies (World Bank 2011).

The region considered in this chapter covers 25 countries, grouped according to the IMF classification: six advanced economies, 10 emerging markets, and nine low-income and developing countries.4Figures 3.13.4 show various indicators of gender inequality in the region and the notable progress most of the countries have achieved in recent years.5 At the aggregate level, gender equality measured by the Gender Inequality Index (GII) (Figure 3.1), is improving across the region, with each country showing a reduction in inequality since 1990. The GII uses three components to measure the overall level of gender inequality in a country: (1) female reproductive health (maternal mortality and adolescent fertility rates), (2) women’s empowerment (political representation and educational attainment at secondary and higher levels), and (3) labor market (female-to-male ratio of labor force participation rate) measures (see Stotsky and others (2016) for further details on the GII calculation).

Figure 3.1.Gender Inequality Index

Sources: Stotsky and others 2016; Barro and Lee 2014; World Bank, World Development Indicators; and IMF staff calculations.

Figure 3.2.Gross Secondary School Enrollment

(Female-to-male ratio)

Sources: World Bank, World Development Indicators; and IMF staff estimates.

Figure 3.3.Labor Force Participation Rate (Percent of Population 15 and Older)

(Female-to-male ratio)

Sources: World Bank, World Development Indicators; and IMF staff estimates.

Figure 3.4.Seats Held by Women in National Parliaments

(Percent of total)

Sources: World Bank, World Development Indicators; and IMF staff estimates.

Using data from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators, Figure 3.2 shows the female-to-male ratio of gross secondary education enrollment rates in the region. In many countries, gender parity exists and, often, female enrollment rates exceed male rates. Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal each had female-to-male ratios well below 0.4 in 1980, but by 2015 had achieved gender parity or had more girls enrolled in secondary school than boys.

Sizable gender gaps in labor force participation rates can still be found in the region, however, and in some countries the female-to-male ratio was lower in 2017 than in 1990. Overall, though, the regional average for the female-to-male ratio in labor force participation has increased by almost 6 percentage points since 1990.

Women in the region now hold more seats in national parliaments than in 1990; over the past three decades, the share of women in parliament has increased by almost 10 percentage points. Australia, Lao P.D.R., Nepal, and the Philippines have all seen their shares increase by at least 20 percentage points (Figure 3.4).

Table 3.1 offers a snapshot of the fiscal environment in Asia and the Pacific from 2012 to 2015. On average, the region had a budget deficit of approximately 2 percent of GDP. Expenditures on human development, such as in education and health, averaged less than 4 percent of GDP.

Table 3.1.Fiscal Context of Gender Budgeting in Asia
Fiscal Aggregates1

(average 2012–15, unless otherwise indicated)2 (percent of GDP)
Public

Financial

Management
CountryTotal revenueTotal expenditureOverall3 balanceGross4 debtEducation5 expenditureHealth6 expenditurePublic Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA), overall score7
Australia33.936.9−3.032.45.26.3n.a.8
Bangladesh10.814.2−3.334.02.00.92.1
Bhutan28.531.3−2.896.14.83.13.0
Brunei Darussalam39.934.75.22.43.02.3n.a.
Cambodia18.320.1−1.833.12.61.42.1
China28.429.7−1.340.4n.a.3.0n.a.
Hong Kong SAR, China20.618.32.30.33.5n.a.n.a.
India20.027.4−7.366.93.61.32.6
Indonesia16.418.5−2.124.93.21.12.8
Japan32.739.9−7.2244.93.88.5n.a.
Korea, Rep.21.420.80.634.24.63.9n.a.
Lao PDR23.727.1−3.462.62.80.9n.a.
Macao SAR, China38.215.522.70.02.7n.a.n.a.
Malaysia23.827.2−3.455.95.82.2n.a.
Maldives30.238.6−8.466.55.67.82.0
Mongolia28.637.9−9.3n.a.4.62.4n.a.
Myanmar22.424.5−2.233.7n.a.0.71.5
Nepal19.818.91.030.74.42.62.2
New Zealand34.235.2−1.031.07.19.3n.a.
Pakistan14.120.9−6.864.52.31.02.5
Papua New Guinea27.433.9−6.534.3n.a.3.8n.a.
Philippines19.018.80.238.33.41.42.0
Singapore21.717.24.4101.23.11.7n.a.
Sri Lanka12.418.5−6.176.81.91.7n.a.
Thailand21.922.2−0.342.74.65.33.1
Vietnam22.429.2−6.753.96.33.52.4
Regional average24.326.1−1.852.13.93.22.4
Sources: IMF, World Economic Outlook (WEO); World Bank Development Indicators (WDI); and IMF staff calculations.

All figures except for health and education expenditure are drawn from the latest WEO publication, and the concept of government corresponds to that in the WEO. Please see the WEO for further details. Health and education expenditure are drawn from WDI and correspond to the general government concept.

The figures are based on the average over the number of years in this period for which data were available.

Corresponds to the concept of total revenue minus total expenditure.

Gross debt does not net out holdings of debt by other entities of the government.

The figures for education expenditure are based on 2010–13 averages or the number of years for which data are available in this period. The 2013 data are the latest available.

The figures for health expenditure are based on 2011–14 averages or the number of years for which data are available in this period. The 2014 data are the latest available.

PEFA is a performance monitoring framework used to assess the public financial management systems in developing countries. It is an initiative jointly supported by the World Bank, IMF, European Commission, and other development and government institutions. The framework consists of 28 indicators with each indicator scored on a scale from A (highest) to D (lowest). PEFA scores reported above are an average of the 28 indicators and convert the four ordinal PEFA scores (A,B,C,D) to numerical scores (4,3,2,1) with “1” score given 0.5 point. A higher PEFA score implies stronger administration of public finance. On a global basis, the lowest score is 1.1 and the highest score is 3.6. Please see https://www.pefa.org/ for further details.

Data are not available.

Sources: IMF, World Economic Outlook (WEO); World Bank Development Indicators (WDI); and IMF staff calculations.

All figures except for health and education expenditure are drawn from the latest WEO publication, and the concept of government corresponds to that in the WEO. Please see the WEO for further details. Health and education expenditure are drawn from WDI and correspond to the general government concept.

The figures are based on the average over the number of years in this period for which data were available.

Corresponds to the concept of total revenue minus total expenditure.

Gross debt does not net out holdings of debt by other entities of the government.

The figures for education expenditure are based on 2010–13 averages or the number of years for which data are available in this period. The 2013 data are the latest available.

The figures for health expenditure are based on 2011–14 averages or the number of years for which data are available in this period. The 2014 data are the latest available.

PEFA is a performance monitoring framework used to assess the public financial management systems in developing countries. It is an initiative jointly supported by the World Bank, IMF, European Commission, and other development and government institutions. The framework consists of 28 indicators with each indicator scored on a scale from A (highest) to D (lowest). PEFA scores reported above are an average of the 28 indicators and convert the four ordinal PEFA scores (A,B,C,D) to numerical scores (4,3,2,1) with “1” score given 0.5 point. A higher PEFA score implies stronger administration of public finance. On a global basis, the lowest score is 1.1 and the highest score is 3.6. Please see https://www.pefa.org/ for further details.

Data are not available.

The last column shows the overall score for Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability, which assesses public financial management systems in developing countries; thus, it is not available for all countries in the region. Higher scores indicate stronger public financial management, and the relatively low scores in a few of the countries signal the need to strengthen fiscal administration. As the IMF (2017) points out, sound public financial management institutions, integrated into the various stages of the budget cycle, can support improvements in gender-related outcomes and thus play an important role in operationalizing gender budgeting.

Fiscal policies can play an important role in promoting gender equality and women’s development. Government budgets may have a differential impact on women than on men (Elson 2002; Stotsky 2016), and governments should analyze how their policies can promote gender equality in laws, regulations, and practices governing the budget. We now offer short summaries of four significant gender budgeting efforts in the region followed by an analysis of the trends of key gender equality indicators.

Australia

Gender budgeting in Australia has been used to achieve a wide variety of goals, including increased access to education, childcare, and health services; higher rates of female labor force participation; and reduced violence against women. Sharp and Broomhill (2013) summarize 30 years of Australia’s federal-level gender budgeting efforts. Beginning in 1983, Australia produced an annual federal Women’s Budget Statement that highlighted policies and initiatives focused on gender equality and increased government transparency and accountability. The Office of the Status of Women led the implementation of this effort, and by 1985 all departments and agencies were required to provide sex-disaggregated data and examine how their programs affected women. This requirement extended beyond expenditure programs to include initiatives under the tax system such as family and education taxes.6

The earliest Women’s Budget Statements succeeded in raising awareness about relatively low funding for programs targeted to women, calling attention to how federal budgets were not “gender neutral” and acknowledging women’s disproportionate responsibility for unpaid work. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD 2014) notes that, between 1985 and 1996, federal assistance to families with children and the elderly increased by 27 percent and 24 percent, respectively; in addition, there was a five-fold increase in the number of childcare centers. In the 2002–03 Federal Statement, the government introduced a “baby bonus” to address falling birth rates, and in 2004–05, a lump sum maternity payment was added. Efforts aimed at increasing female labor force participation led to increased spending on childcare and the introduction of paid parental leave. However, Australia did not develop a legal framework or mandate for its gender budgeting initiative, and the last national-level women’s budget statement was released in 2013. In the absence of a formal national-level government women’s budget statement, the civil society group, the National Foundation for Australian Women, examined the impact of the budget on gender equality and produced its own statement in 2014.

The country had gender budgeting at the subnational level, although the efforts ended after the Australian Capital Territory published the last women’s budget statement in 2007 (Sharp and Broomhill 2013). More recently, though, the state of Victoria has introduced a gender equality strategy, Safe and Strong, that acknowledges the importance of establishing a legal framework for gender equality governance structures, using gender budgeting and gender impact analysis, and examining the state’s public sector employment practices. Under this strategy, the state plans to tackle a range of gender equality issues, such as violence against women, financial security, education and training, and health and well-being.

India

Gender budgeting was first mentioned in India’s Tenth Five Year Plan, 2002–07 (Kanwar 2016), and since then the country has incorporated both expenditure and revenue policies designed to reduce gender inequality. Although the Ministry of Finance played an active role in introducing gender budgeting, Kanwar (2016) notes that its engagement in recent years has been more limited, with the Ministry of Women and Child Development taking the lead. The use of revenue policies, although somewhat limited, sets India’s effort apart from other nations, as most countries have typically focused squarely on expenditures to promote gender equality. Furthermore, India has national- and state-level gender budgeting, with 18 of the 29 states and union territories implementing some form of gender budgeting (Kanwar 2016).

The gender budget statement serves as an instrument that can potentially identify gender equality goals and budget allocations. The statement is separated into two parts, per the guidelines issued in the budget call circular: Part A focuses on programs that are 100 percent women-specific, and Part B reflects those programs where at least 30 percent of the allocations are for women. The statement is publicly available.7 However, as UN Women (2016) points out, the statement is not clearly linked with the budget-planning process and could suffer from arbitrary or inaccurate reporting. It was first introduced in the 2005–06 budget and covered the allocations for nine departments and ministries; the percentage of the budget dedicated to gender equality programs and issues was 2.8 percent. The 2015–16 version covered 35 ministries and departments and represented 4.5 percent of the total budget, while the 2016–17 statement saw an increase in spending on gender-related programs to 5.2 percent of the total budget.

As in many emerging and developing countries, India’s gender equality goals typically focus on improving girls’ access to and enrollment rates in education, addressing health needs, and investing in infrastructure. In the 2013–14 budget for example, 94 percent of funds allocated under Part A of the gender budget statement were for health and social welfare programs, followed by economic empowerment, then education and literacy at roughly 3 percent each. The 2017–18 gender budget includes programs to reduce maternal mortality rates and violence against women, provide childcare for working mothers, offer incentives for girls enrolling in training and education, and improve nutrition, for example.8 Programs such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (Save the Daughter, Educate the Daughter) work to address social biases and preferences toward male children and reduce potential barriers that girls face early in life, including child marriage, violence, and lack of education.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development published a handbook that provides sectoral ministries with an introduction to gender budgeting.9 The handbook offers details on the gender budget statement and how to incorporate gender into the budget process at the national and state levels. Monitoring and evaluation, data collection, and international examples of gender budgeting efforts are also included. Using the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign as an example, the handbook explains the importance of collecting and examining sex-disaggregated data as part of a well-designed gender budgeting effort. The government chose Panipat, Haryana, as the launch site for the campaign because sex-disaggregated data show that the sex ratio at birth in 2011–13 was the lowest in the state of Haryana (864 female live births per 1,000 male live births) compared to states such as Kerala (966) or Chhattisgarh (970).

State-level gender budgeting efforts in India represent a diverse set of approaches, with models in some states, such as Madhya Pradesh, mimicking the national model through their use of gender budget statements. Karnataka, an early adopter of gender budgeting, has set up a gender audit process. In Kerala, the 2017–18 Gender and Child Budgeting plan calls out two target areas: (1) skill development, employment generation, and livelihood security with a priority to vulnerable women; and (2) preventing violence against women. To achieve these goals, the budget includes planned allocations aimed at supporting entrepreneurship, skills training and development, childcare, and gender-friendly infrastructure, among other programs.10

Civil society organizations have played an essential role in sustaining gender budgeting work in India at both the national and subnational levels. The Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability analyzes national government budgets and processes, while state-level budget groups work to include gender perspectives in the budget process (Kanwar 2016). Donor support has help develop and sustain gender budgeting in India.

Korea

Parliament has played an important role in the country’s gender budgeting effort. Data on female parliamentarians from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators show that in 1997 women comprised 3 percent of the lower house of parliament; by 2000 this number had increased to almost 6 percent, and by 2004 to 13 percent. As Ichii and Sharp (2013) note, starting in 2002, members of the Gender Equality and Family Committee of the Korean National Assembly called for a resolution to enact gender budgeting, which was adopted. Members attended various workshops and seminars, and the country launched a campaign to garner public support for gender budgeting.

Fiscal reforms to the medium-term budget framework and the use of performance-based budgeting provided an opportunity for the country to integrate gender-based goals into the budget. During this process to overhaul the budget framework, a female parliamentarian cast the tie-breaking vote in the National Assembly Steering Committee with the condition that gender budgeting be included in the fiscal reforms. Legally mandated in 2006 under the National Finance Act, the gender budgeting effort in Korea required that agencies and ministries submit gender budgets and gender balance reports beginning in fiscal year 2010. The law also required the government to evaluate the impact of the budget on both men and women and whether the budget addresses gender discrimination. The Ministry of Strategy and Finance, in partnership with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, and the Korean Women’s Development Institute lead the gender budgeting work. The Korean Women’s Development Institute has also conducted research on gender budgeting; its primary objective is to develop a framework to incorporate gender budgeting into the country’s medium-term expenditure framework (IMF 2017).

More than 40 government ministries and agencies complete gender budget statements, and the total amount spent on gender-related programs represents approximately 7 percent of the total yearly budget. Key focal ministries include the Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry, Education and Human Resources, Government and Home Affairs, Health and Welfare, Justice, and Labor, with approximately 70 percent of spending on gender-related programs devoted to social welfare benefits.11 Examples of programs under the gender budgeting initiative include those dedicated to addressing infrastructure deficiencies and the unpaid time burden of women. For instance, the government introduced programs to reduce the number of hours women spend on unpaid work, thereby potentially allowing them to join the workforce.

Korea’s gender budgeting program features an effort to monitor outcomes and spending, making it one of the few countries to do so. Each year, the National Assembly reviews the gender budget statements while the Board of Audit and Inspection audits the gender budget balance sheet; this allows the government to monitor whether the performance objectives included in the statements were achieved.

Philippines

The Philippines began gender budgeting in 1995 through its Gender and Development Budget Policy, with the Philippine Commission on Women taking the lead. This effort included a legal requirement that all departments, ministries, and agencies earmark at least 5 percent of their budgets for expenditures on programs for women. Three years later, the earmark requirement was expanded to include local governments and colleges and universities. As Chakraborty (2016) and UN Women (2016) both note, though, this approach had several drawbacks. First, government agencies were not penalized for missing the 5 percent target, meaning that many departments simply had unspent funds at the end of each fiscal year. Furthermore, government staff often had a limited understanding of gender needs and issues, which may have led to inefficient or wasteful spending.

In an effort to strengthen the Gender and Development Policy, the country issued a joint circular in 2012 to provide agencies with guidelines on preparing, implementing, and monitoring annual Gender and Development Plans.12 In addition, agencies were expected to conduct gender audits and institutionalize the use of sex-disaggregated data (Kanwar 2016). The Philippine Commission on Women, the Department of Budget and Management, and the National Economic and Development Authority share responsibility for implementing and monitoring the Gender and Development Policy (UN Women 2016), with civil society organizations playing a watchdog role over this process (Chakraborty 2016).

A few localities have introduced gender budgeting as well. In Sorsogon, the effort focused on health goals, while in Hilongos, the goal was to strengthen women’s earning opportunities in the agricultural sector. Infanta’s effort addresses access to credit/finance and licensing procedures to encourage female entrepreneurship. Local-level gender budgeting, though, is neither widespread nor systematic.

Implications of Gender Budgeting Through Trends Analysis of Key Indicators

Gender budgeting programs often try to address gaps in education, health outcomes, and women’s economic and/or political empowerment. This section examines several indicators in these areas. Recall that overall gender inequality, as measured by the aggregate Gender Inequality Index, has been declining across the region (Figure 3.1). To try to assess the relationship between gender budgeting and indicators of gender equality and the advancement of women, we compare Australia and Korea to OECD counterparts, and India and the Philippines to their regional lower-middle-income country counterparts. Turning first to Australia and Korea, we examine the countries’ performance in labor market outcomes, as each country identified increasing female labor force participation as a goal. Note that although gender budgeting began in the early 1980s in Australia, data for many of the indicators are not available before 1990.

Australia’s gender budgeting program included a focus on increasing female labor force participation through increased spending on childcare and the introduction of paid parental leave. Australia’s female labor force participation rate increased by more than 6 percentage points from 1990 through 2016 (Figure 3.5a), and the country outperformed its OECD counterparts over the entire time frame. Korea’s female labor force participation rates are typically below the OECD average (except for a brief period in the mid-1990s) but have increased by 3 percentage points since 1990, and its percentage of women in vulnerable employment has steadily declined, to close the gap with its OECD counterparts (Figure 3.5c). Note also that by 2003, the female-to-male ratio of workers in vulnerable employment had dropped below one, meaning that in Korea, the number of men in vulnerable employment, as a share of total male employment, was higher than the number of women (Figure 3.5d).

Figure 3.5.Female Labor Force Participation

Sources: World Bank, World Development Indicators; and IMF staff estimates.

Note: OECD = Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Although Korea’s gender budgeting program was legally mandated starting in 2006, the first gender budget statement was not produced until 2010; thus, it may be difficult to associate any changes in gender equality outcomes with gender budgeting prior to 2010. The country also introduced an affirmative action program in 2006 aimed at increasing female labor force participation.

Australia’s gender budgeting program contained a specific component focused on falling fertility rates.13 Like their OECD counterparts, Australia and Korea experienced declining birth rates over the past several decades. However, the Australian government attempted to address fertility rates through its introduction of the “baby bonus” in 2002–03 and then in 2004–05 with a lump sum, non-means-tested maternity payment. The 2004–05 maternity payment was set at A$3,000, which was to be increased to A$5,000 by July 2008 (OECD 2004). The system for maternity payments changed in 2009, with the introduction of a A$75,000 income limit for recipients and payments being made in installments rather than as lump sums. Figure 3.6 shows that Australia’s fertility rate was below or near the OECD average until the early to mid-2000s, when its fertility rate jumped above the average of its counterparts. In 2000, the number of births per woman in Australia stood at 1.8, but by 2008, when non-means-tested, lump sum payments reached $A5,000, the fertility rate reached two births per woman. A fuller analysis of the causal relationship between Australia’s baby bonus program and the fertility rate could provide further insight into whether gender budgeting was the driving factor behind the increase in fertility rates or if Australia’s increase was due to other factors. For instance, the OECD average over the same time period shows an increase, though not as marked as that in Australia.

Figure 3.6.Fertility Rate

Sources: World Bank, World Development Indicators; and IMF staff estimates.

Note: OECD = Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

We now analyze trends in gender equality in India and the Philippines and compare their performance to other lower-middle-income countries in the region.14Figures 3.7a and 3.7b provide data on female labor force participation as a share of the total labor force and the female-to-male ratio of labor force participation. While the percentage of women working in the Philippines increased slightly from 1990 through 2016, India experienced a decline of approximately 5 percentage points from 2005 through 2012. In both countries, the female labor force participation rate and the ratio of the female-to-male labor force participation rate are below those of their peer countries. The Philippines, however, was able to narrow the gap between female and male labor force participation rates by almost 8 percentage points, from a high of 35 points in the early 1990s to its lowest gap of 28 points in 2017. By the mid-2000s, India, on the other hand, began to see a widening in the gender gap in labor force participation, reaching 52 percentage points by 2011 and remaining at this level through 2017.15

Figure 3.7.Female Labor Force Participation Rates

Sources: World Bank, World Development Indicators; and IMF staff estimates.

In its Tenth National Development Plan (2002–07), India called for maternal mortality to be reduced to two per 1,000 live births by 2007 and one per 1,000 live births by 2012. The plan further discussed high fertility rates, due in part to the unmet need for contraception and high infant mortality rates. As part of its gender budgeting efforts in later years, it allocated the bulk of its gender budget expenditures to health and social welfare programs in 2013–14, while its 2017–18 gender budget addressed, among other issues, maternal mortality and nutrition. Although the country has not reached the maternal mortality objectives included in its Tenth Plan, the ratio continues to fall each year (Figure 3.8a). Adolescent fertility rates in India fell from almost 100 births per 1,000 women ages 15–17 in 1990 to 23 births in 2015, a rate that is about half that of India’s lower-middle-income peers (Figure 3.8b). Finally, the use of contraceptives among women ages 15–49 increased in India to above 55 percent in 2008 from a rate closer to 40 percent in the mid-1990s.

Figure 3.8.Reproductive Outcomes

Sources: World Bank, World Development Indicators; and IMF staff estimates.

Child and infant mortality rates have also been cut in half or more since 1990 (Table 3.2). In 1990, India had an under-five mortality rate more than double that of South Africa, but by 2016, the two countries had the same rate. Infant mortality rates have also improved markedly in India, with the country cutting its rate by more than half, and again, on par with that in South Africa.

Table 3.2.Child and Infant Mortality Rates
Under-five Mortality Rate by SexUnder-Five Mortality Rate by SexInfant Mortality
Country19902016Rate(under 1)
1990MaleFemale2016MaleFemale19902016
Brazil6469591516145314
China54565210119429
India1261221304342448835
Russian Fed.222518897187
South Africa5763524348394534
Source: UNICEF.
Source: UNICEF.

In their gender budgeting programs, both India and the Philippines addressed gender equality in education. For example, the Philippine Plan for Gender-Responsive Development 1995–2025 pointed out that in some cases, educational outcomes were better for girls than for boys, but that harassment, gender bias and stereotypes, and unequal access to services were issues that needed to be addressed (Illo and others 2010). India’s national gender budgeting program offers incentives for girls enrolling in training and education and other programs such as Beti Bachao Beti Padhao.

Figure 3.9 shows the trends in the female-to-male ratio for gross primary, secondary, and tertiary school enrollment along with youth literacy rates. The Philippines has maintained near gender parity in primary school enrollment, while more girls than boys are enrolled in secondary and tertiary school. India lagged its lower-middle-income peers in all three levels of education, but by the mid-2000s it had reached gender parity in primary school enrollment and thereafter saw more girls than boys enrolled. Gender parity in secondary school enrollment came in 2013, when India outperformed its peers. Regarding gender equality in tertiary school enrollment, India has nearly achieved gender parity, but both the Philippines and the regional counterparts have more women than men enrolled in tertiary education. Youth literacy rates for girls in the Philippines are slightly above those for boys. Girls trail boys in India in terms of literacy rates, but the country has been making steady improvements since 2000, with female literacy rates increasing from 68 percent in 2001 to 81 percent in 2011.

Figure 3.9.Education Rates

Sources: World Bank, World Development Indicators; and IMF staff estimates.

Stotsky and Zaman (2016) provide empirical evidence for the efficacy of India’s gender budgeting efforts regarding primary school enrollment. That is, using generalized method of moments regressions, the authors show that gender equality in primary school enrollment was higher in Indian states that had introduced gender budgeting compared to states that had not. No significant effect was found for secondary school enrollment. These results offer preliminary evidence that gender budgeting can have a positive impact on addressing gender inequality; however, as the authors note, studies using household-level data and disaggregated fiscal data would be beneficial.

Conclusions

Throughout the region, fiscal policies have been used to further gender equality objectives. While most countries adopted a national-level approach to gender budgeting, India and the Philippines introduced local- and state-level initiatives. Gender budgeting efforts aimed to reduce poor health outcomes, improve access to education, and increase female labor force participation through a variety of methods and programs. In India and Korea, the Ministry of Finance took on a leadership role, and both countries have included gender budgeting as part of their organic finance laws or other finance laws. In Australia and the Philippines, civil society organizations have played a more instrumental role than the ministries of finance, and the countries have not adopted legislation mandating gender budgeting. Gender budgeting efforts have evolved over time; for example, the Philippines moved away from its initial 5 percent earmarking approach to adopt a results-based gender budgeting approach.

As countries look to expand and improve gender budgeting in the region, they could consider examining revenue-side policies, such as allowing tax deductions for childcare or removing tax credits or deductions that are not gender neutral.16 Collecting and analyzing gender-disaggregated data could help improve fiscal policy decisions. Countries could issue gender budgeting statements, such as those produced in Australia, India, and Korea, to improve transparency. In addition, countries should incorporate monitoring, auditing, and evaluation, such as in Korea, to further strengthen gender budgeting programs, improve tracking and expenditure management, and increase transparency.

References

    BarroRobert and Jong-WhaLee.2014. Educational Attainment Dataset. Seoul: Korea University.

    ChakrabortyLekha.2016. “Asia: A Survey of Gender Budgeting Efforts.IMF Working Paper 16/150International Monetary FundWashington, DC.

    ElsonDiane.2002. “Integrating Gender into Government Budgets within a Context of Economic Reform.” In Gender Budgets Make Cents: Understanding Gender-Responsive Budgets edited by DebbieBudlenderDianeElsonGuyHewitt and TanniMukhopadhyay23–47. London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

    IchiiReina and RhondaSharp.2013. “Government Budgets and the Promotion of Gender Equality in Japan and South Korea.Paper presented at the 12th Conference of the Australian Society of Heterodox Economists University of New South Wales SydneyDecember2–3. http://www.unisa.edu.au/Global/EASS/HRI/IchiiSharpJapan%20Korea%20conference%20paper%202%2012%2013.pdf.

    IlloJeanne Frances I.JeanEncinas-FrancoJon Michael R.VillasenorMaria Dryla L.Leyesa and Frances Chariza de losTrino.2010. “Accounting for Gender Results: A Review of the Philippine GAD Budget Policy.Manila: Women and Gender Institute, Miriam College.

    International Monetary Fund (IMF). 2017. “Gender Budgeting in G7 Countries.IMF Policy Paper 041917Washington, DC.

    KanwarSheena.2016. “Gender Responsive Budgeting in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Status Report.UN Women. http://asiapacific.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2016/12/gender-responsive-budgeting-in-the-asia-pacific.

    KlasenStephan.1994. “Missing Women Reconsidered.World Development22: 106171.

    KlasenStephan.2008. “Missing Women: Some Recent Controversies on Levels and Trends in Gender Bias in Mortality.Discussion Paper 168 Ibero America Institute. Berlin: Ibero America Institute.

    KlasenStephan and ClaudiaWink.2003. “Missing Women: Revisiting the Debate.Feminist Economics9: 26399.

    KynchJocelyn and AmartyaSen.1983. “Indian Women: Well Being and Survival.Cambridge Journal of Economics7: 36380.

    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 2004. “OECD Economic Surveys: Australia.2004/18 - February 2005. Paris: OECD Publishing.

    Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). 2014. Women Government and Policy Making in OECD Countries: Fostering Diversity for Inclusive Growth.Paris: OECD Publishing.

    SenAmartya.2003. “Missing Women Revisited,British Medical Journal327: 129798.

    SharpRhonda and RayBroomhill.2013. “A Case Study of Gender Responsive Budgeting in Australia.London: Commonwealth Secretariat.

    StotskyJanet G.2016. “Gender Budgeting: Fiscal Overview and Current Outcomes,IMF Working Paper 16/149International Monetary FundWashington, DC.

    StotskyJanet G.SakinaShibuyaLisaKolovich and SuhaibKebhaj.2016. “Trends in Women’s Advancement and Gender Equality,IMF Working Paper 16/21International Monetary FundWashington, DC.

    StotskyJanet G. and AsadZaman.2016. “The Influence of Gender Budgeting in Indian States on Gender Equality and Fiscal Spending,IMF Working Paper 16/227International Monetary FundWashington, DC.

    World Bank. 2011. World DevelopmentReport2012: GenderEquality and Development.Washington, DC.

Annex 3.1.
Asia
AustraliaIndiaKoreaThe Philippines
ORIGINS
Does the government have a gender budgeting initiativeYesYesYesYes
If yes, start year1983200220091995
If any, end year2014
Supported by international organizations or bilateral aid agenciesNoNoYesYes
Tied to MDGs or national development plan or gender equality strategyNoYesYesYes
SELECTED COMPONENTS OF FISCAL POLICY
Focus on spendingYesYesYesYes
Spending focus on key human development (education and health)YesYesYesYes
Spending focus on physical infrastructure (transport, water, electricity, and energy)NoYesNoYes
Spending focus on justice and security (violence against women, judicial assistance)YesYesYesYes
Spending focus on jobs, entrepreneurship, wages etcYesYesYesYes
Structural reforms in spending (subsidies, transfers, incentive or distributional objectives)YesYesYesYes
Focus on revenueYesYesNoNo
Personal income tax focusYesYesNoNo
Other tax focus, including general or selective sales and tradeNoNoNoNo
INDICATORS TO PLACE GENDER BUDGETING IN THE FISCAL PROCESS
Broad statement of goals of Minister of FinanceNoYesYesNo
Gender budgeting statement in budget documentationYesYesYesYes
Gender budgeting circular or related to instruct the bureaucracyNoYesNoYes
Gender budgeting in planning and programmingNoYesYesYes
Gender budgeting outcome report or auditNoYesYesYes
Explicit reporting on gender equality spendingNoYesYesYes
LEGAL BASIS
Gender budgeting has constitutional standingNoNoNoNo
Gender budgeting is incorporated in organic budget or other finance lawsNoYesYesYes
ROLE OF GOVERNMENT
Ministry of Finance lead entityNoYesYesNo
Other ministries play consequential role and which Subnational governmentYes; The Office of the Status of ChildYes; Ministry of Women and Child DevelopmentYes; The Philippine Commission on WomenYes; The Korean Women Development Institute; Gender Budgeting Task Force
Subnational governmentYesYesYesYes
ROLE OF CIVIL SOCIETY
Significant encouragement or participation of civil societyYesYesYesNo

For example, Amartya Sen drew attention to the millions of “missing” women, that is, the deviation of the actual sex ratio from the expected sex ratio, in China and India (Klasen and Wink 2003; Klasen 1994, 2008; Sen 2003). This shortfall of women “is far from a minor issue,” to quote Klasen and Wink (2003); the authors point out that the impact is larger than the combined death toll of World Wars I and II or those who perished in all the famines of the 20th century.

For further details on gender budgeting efforts in the region, see Annex 3.1 and Chakraborty (2016).

Gender budgeting efforts can be defined as the use of fiscal policies to address gender inequality and, in some countries, include gender-responsive reforms to public financial management institutions. In addition, countries may implement a wide array of standard gender budgeting components without referring to their efforts as “gender budgeting.”

The advanced economies are Australia, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and Singapore. Emerging markets are Brunei Darussalam, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Low-income and developing countries are Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and Vietnam.

Data may not be available for all countries for each indicator.

Details on Australia’s early gender budgeting efforts were obtained from the country’s response to the IMF questionnaire.

Expenditures for 2017–18 are at http://indiabudget.nic.in/ub2017-18/eb/stat13.pdf.

Figures are based on government response to the IMF questionnaire.

As IMF (2017) points out, gender equality policies may have different effects on the fertility rate. For example, policies aimed at increasing female labor force participation (reducing gender wage gaps, eliminating secondary earner tax biases) could encourage more women to enter the workforce and would likely lead to a decrease in fertility rates. Other policies, such as paid maternal or parental leave, access to high-quality childcare, and Australia’s baby bonus, would serve to reduce the costs of having children and could increase the birthrate.

Comparison countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

From 1990 to 2017, the average gender gap in India’s population was approximately 3.6 percentage points.

According to the 2017 World Bank Women, Business, and the Law database, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have tax credits or deductions that are specific to men.

    Other Resources Citing This Publication