Australia Releases Gender Responsive Budgeting Guidelines

By: GWL Team | Wednesday, 23 August 2023

With the publication of thorough guidelines on gender responsive budgeting for federal agencies, the Australian Office for Women has made a significant contribution to the advancement of gender equality. To enable policymakers to assess the possible gender-specific effects of policy ideas, the Australian Public Service (APS) has published the Guide to Gender Analysis and Gender Impact Assessment.

The handbook discusses the value of gender analysis and provides guidelines for doing both a gender analysis summary and a gender impact assessment in an effort to address the varied effects of policies on various genders. Decision-makers can learn more about a proposal's possible "gendered impact" by reading the gender analysis summary, which is now a required component for all cabinet submissions and new policy proposals.

The handbook advises doing a more thorough gender impact assessment for policies that have significant gendered effects or fulfil certain requirements. This analysis aims to give decision-makers a thorough grasp of the anticipated gendered effects of a policy and the specific steps put forward to improve gender equality results.

Gender responsive budgeting, according to the Australian government, is a key instrument for incorporating gender issues into the budgeting process. Governments can thus devote funds to programmes that decrease gender gaps without unintentionally escalating gender disparities. Additionally, by emphasising the distributional effects of policy ideas, this strategy promotes decision-making openness.

The Labour government's key tactic for improving the wellbeing of Australian women and girls is to incorporate gender equality as a core policy concern, according to Katy Gallagher, Minister for Women, Finance, and the Public Service. The importance of the advice, which will be a tremendous help to all public employees in their efforts to support the government's commitment to gender equality, was emphasised by Gallagher.

Notably, the reinstatement of gender responsive budgeting—first promoted by Bob Hawke's administration in the 1980s—ensures that policy impacts on women remain a crucial consideration in the government's decision-making process.

The Labour administration under Anthony Albanese carried out a gender-responsive budgeting experiment in October of the year before, which was a ground-breaking action. The pilot included a wide range of policy areas, including the care economy, housing, and employment and skills.

The Australian budgeting process might be altered by this event. While the Women's Budget Statement is now produced in addition to the main Budget, Gallagher hopes to upskill the APS to include a gender perspective in all future Budgets. The single women's statement could become outdated as a result of this development, which is consistent with Gallagher's goal of integrating gender equality concerns into the larger Budget framework.

The Australian Public Service's most recent initiatives also show a larger commitment to gender parity. The Australian Department of Defence announced plans in June of this year to increase from 25% to 50% the proportion of women hired through STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programmes.

Departments of the Australian government were given the order to start developing policies to deal with sexual harassment in federal workplaces in February. Prior to the legislation's scheduled December implementation, the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) recommended for its early adoption. The new legislation would require companies all throughout the country to implement "reasonable and proportionate" steps to end victimisation, antagonism, and sexism in the workplace.

Australia's continued dedication to improving gender equality and developing inclusive policy is shown by the publication of the APS Guide to Gender Analysis and Gender Impact Assessment.