30 May 2018, 15.49
Ireland should place gender-equality goals at the heart of its spending and taxation plans and government departments should develop diligently researched goals for promoting opportunities for women, the Joint Committee on Budgetary Oversight has found in a new report.
Today’s publication of the Report on Gender Budgeting followed a series of hearings exploring how to boost women’s work participation and equal treatment through proactive budget measures.
In a new approach, Ireland’s 2018 budget introduced a pilot programme in several government departments to set targets for boosting female representation in many activities, from filmmaking to scientific research.
In its conclusions, the Committee recommends that the government should:
• Produce an annual Equality Budget Statement that would be delivered by the Finance Minister as a core feature of each Budget Day. This plan “should set out broad and ambitious strategic gender equality goals” linked to each department’s specific targets;
• expand its Budget 2018 commitment to pilot gender-balancing goals, backed by better data and more thoroughly defined goals;
• accept and, where possible, implement improvements identified in a Parliamentary Budget Office report that reviewed the design and effectiveness of the pilot programme
• provide the Committee with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s own internal analysis used to identify gender-equality targets in the pilot programme;
• help the six departments involved in the pilot programme to identify and fill gaps in their data measuring whether gender-equality goals are properly defined and being advanced, and
• Consider enshrining the goal of gender balancing in national law.
Committee Chairman Colm Brophy TD said witnesses from the National Women’s Council of Ireland, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission and equality officials from other EU member states all had made a persuasive case for making gender equality a core goal of Budget 2019 and beyond. He noted that some 80 nations worldwide already had instituted some form of gender-specific budgeting into their fiscal planning.
“In Ireland we are taking the first important steps in addressing gender inequality at a national budgetary level across a broad range of activities and state-funded supports,” Deputy Brophy said.
“Effective policy will need to be built on a solid grasp of often hard-to-gather data. We still have much work to do in building this essential bedrock of knowledge,” he said. “Evidence provided to the Committee from other countries shows us that we must correctly distinguish whether inequality in any given situation stems principally from gender or from other factors, including disability, age, ethnic background or family status. Our goal as a nation must be to eradicate inequality in opportunity in all its forms.”
Read the report here
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