Last year Victoria became the first state to implement gender responsive budgeting as part of its policymaking process.
Gender responsive budgeting is being increasingly adopted worldwide as a tool to assess whether policies proposed in a budget will benefit or disadvantage individuals based on their gender and guide reform in the interest of supporting more gender equitable outcomes.
RMIT University economics lecturer and Women in Economics Network Chair, Dr Leonora Risse, hailed the Victorian 2022/23 state budget, delivered on 3 May, as “historically significant”.
“This focus on gender equality is needed in light of the heavy toll that the pandemic took on women’s economic opportunities. The budget allocates $940 million towards initiatives to improve outcomes for women, including a strong focus on women’s health and tackling family violence.
She said applying a gender lens to the budget will help the Victorian government identify how economic policies can benefit men more than women, and redesign initiatives to reduce these inequities.
“As examples, the budget is expanding investment in the healthcare workforce to relieve pressures on the health system, a predominantly female sector. This includes $58 million to create new nursing positions and $139 million to support psychiatry training.
“The budget’s investment of $131million to make kindergarten available to all four-year-olds is a mechanism that will allow more women to fully participate in the workforce.
“These initiatives are welcomed but it will take some time for the full impacts to ripple through the economy. There is still a way to go in closing the gap between men and women in the Victorian workforce.”
Distinguished Professor Sara Charlesworth, Director of RMIT’s Centre for People, Organisation and Work described the move as a milestone.
“Victoria is the first Australian jurisdiction to deliver its state budget with gender responsive budgeting in place. This is a really important milestone in terms of being able to assess how funding allocations impact on outcomes for women and directing those allocations to ensure effective support for diverse groups of women.”
“One good example of the budget’s decent work initiatives is the pilot program the state government announced prior to the budget to provide eligible casual and contract workers with sick pay. Women are more likely to be in casual and insecure work without leave entitlements so stand to benefit from this scheme.”
“Overall it is encouraging to see a budget that takes the financial security and safety of Victorian women seriously.”
Gender Equity CEO Tanja Kovac said the peak body was pleased to see an acknowledgement from Government of the importance of dedicated primary prevention investment for women’s health.
Gender Lens on the Budget Report
WOB supports the independent review of the Federal Budget completed each year by the National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) and its 36 subject matter experts. This non-partisan Gender Budget Review (GBR) of the Federal Budget makes recommendations across a range of policy areas – workplace relations, health, education, housing, domestic violence, taxation, superannuation and more, as well as some related to machinery of government and data collection.
Read NFAW’s 2022-2023 Gender Lens on the Budget Report HERE