GCU welcomes gender budget experts from across the UK

19 May 2016

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is this week (May 19 and 20) hosting a two-day conference on gender budgeting, featuring experts from government, feminist economics and policy research across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

Gender budgeting is a set of methods for governments that seeks to ensure budgets aid gender equality and the wellbeing of women, especially those on low incomes.

The conference is being hosted by Dr Angela O’Hagan, member of the Scottish Government Equality and Budgets Advisory Group, Convenor of the Scottish Women’s Budget Group and coordinator of the European Gender Budgeting Network.

During the first day of the conference, Paul Tyrer, Senior Principal Research Officer with the Scottish Government, told delegates how gender budgeting has been used to help formulate the budget process in Scotland.

He said: “The Equality and Budget Advisory Group (EBAG), which was set up by the Scottish Government in 2009, provides advice and guidance on embedding equality into the budget. The Equality Statement which is subsequently produced by the group informs the budget as it is delivered by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance. This means that budgets can be effectively targeted to benefit specific groups and we can avoid or mitigate any negative impacts decisions might have. This report is published each year alongside the Scottish Draft Budget.”

He added: “The report itself is not a gender budgeting report, it looks at the budget in respect of a number of protected characteristics, including age, disability and gender. However we have a positive story to tell. It has been a long road and we have a long way to go but the processes we have in place means that we can tell a broader story about how the budget impacts on women.”

Dr Angela O’Hagan sits on the Group alongside representatives from the Scottish Government, COSLA, the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The conference keynote was presented by Professor Diane Elson, Visiting Professor with the WiSE Research Centre at GCU, and Chair of the UK Women’s Budget Group.

During her address she argued that gender budgeting should not solely concern itself with gender equality but with the “wellbeing of women”.

“In Scotland, the fact that gender budgeting is a consideration at all at draft stage is a tremendous achievement and should be welcomed. However there is still a long way to go before equality is achieved.”