AHEAD of National Budget 2022 tabling in Parliament, 20 civil society organisations (CSO) yesterday (Sept 13) launched the Gender Budget Group (GBG), a coalition spearheaded by ENGENDER Consultancy and the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO).
The GBG advocates for, promotes and monitors gender responsive budgeting across all national budget policies and allocations.
A gender responsive budget looks at the impact of Budget 2022 on girls, boys, men and women. In fact, gender budgeting notes the differences in situations, roles, contributions, and needs of different communities and strata of society.
It ‘responds’ accordingly by ensuring the budget works for everyone – and if needed by allocating specific allocations for both women and men – hence the term ‘gender-responsive budget’.
This is important particularly during the COVID-19 recovery phase as so many groups have yet to be accounted for in the country’s budgetary process.
In this regard, the Gender Budget Group has submitted a collective budget memorandum to the Finance Ministry (MOF) to be considered for Budget 2022. Its memorandum focuses on key areas needing gender-focused allocations such as gender based violence, economic empowerment, leadership, healthcare and education.
Additionally, the group also puts forth recommendations to ensure that the budget meets social protection requirements for the most vulnerable in this pandemic – including single mothers, women employed in the informal sector, households headed by persons with disabilities (PWD), survivors of violence, and those struggling with mental health.
“As such, we urge the MOF as well as other crucial ministries involved in rebuilding the national economy to take note of our recommendations as an opportunity in pushing for a robust and resilient national recovery plan that benefits all in Keluarga Malaysia,” the group pointed out.
“As parliament reconvenes, we ask parliamentarians to commit to debating for a gender-sensitive Budget 2022. In order for Malaysia to stand strong post-pandemic, legislators, think tanks, academicians and other civil society organisations must all come together in understanding the role we play in fiscal policy.”
Given that Malaysia’s gender gap has worsened amid the current pandemic, the Gender Budget Group aims to ensure that policymakers address this alarming divide expeditiously, it added. – Sept 14, 2021