Gender Budgeting

Gender budgeting discussion at the European Parliament and the EWL’s calls on the MFF 2021-2027

[Brussels, 6 December 2019] On 20 November 2019, the EWL held a joint breakfast discussion at the European Parliament on “How can we work together to strengthen gender mainstreaming including in the budgeting process?” The event was co-hosted by MEP Margarida Marques (S&D), co-rapporteur of the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and MEP Alexandra Geese (Greens/EFA), member of the Budgets Committee. The purpose of the event was to spotlight the need for gender mainstreaming amongst EU decision-makers, particularly gender budgeting as a transformative tool, in light of current negotiations of the MFF 2021-2027.

The breakfast meeting brought together key EU decision-makers, including MEPs from the Greens/EFA and Renew Europe, as well as representatives from the European Commission, and members of civil society. We were also joined by some members of our Gender Budgeting Expert Group.

At the meeting, we had the opportunity to raise awareness on gender mainstreaming and how to implement gender budgeting as a tool, particularly in the proposed MFF 2021-2027 to ensure the EU’s long-term budget has equal outcomes for women and men. There was a productive exchange amongst participants about the need to implement a gender budgeting mechanism, particularly to address women’s experiences relating to climate change and digitalisation, and the need to draw from national examples and enhance expertise on gender budgeting amongst decision-makers.

Members from our Gender Budgeting Expert Group also met in the afternoon to discuss our priorities for 2020, particularly around the MFF and projects relating to women’s socioeconomic independence. We will continue to work together in the new year on this topic to further gender budgeting within the EU.

The EWL also prepared and distributed its advocacy calls on the MFF 2021-2027, "An EU budget that works for women’s rights and equality between women and men." The full list of calls can be found here:

The EWL’s key messages for the MFF 2021-2027 include:

Implementation of gender mainstreaming

  • Ensure gender mainstreaming across all headings of the EU budget that can be translated into concrete programmes that are activity-based and results-oriented and are in line with the purpose and scope of each policy area. This includes ensuring the incorporation of measurable gender indicators and gender impact assessments, and the creation of accountability and transparency mechanisms, together with regular reporting of the outcomes and recommendations aimed at improving the process of gender mainstreaming and the efficiency of the programmes implemented.
  • Maintain the current inter-institutional agreement annexed to the current MFF (2014-2020), whereby “…the annual budgetary procedures applied for the MFF 2014-2020 will integrate, as appropriate, gender-responsive elements, taking into account the ways in which the overall financial framework of the Union contributes to increased gender equality (and ensures gender mainstreaming).”

Resources to ensure equality between women and men

  • Ensure earmarked funding for the support and capacity-building of women’s civil society organisations under all headings and depart from Article 8(2) of the European Social Fund Plus proposal currently calling on Member States to allocate an ‘appropriate amount of ESF+ resources’. This discretion places a risk on women’s civil society organisations from receiving sustainable funds. Funding must instead be streamlined and guaranteed across all headings.
  • Allocate funds and resources to implement a pilot project on gender budgeting within the European Commission under Heading II “Cohesion & Values” within the Rights and Values Programme to build capacity amongst decision- and policy-makers. This project will consist of a 15-member team, including staff from a Directorate General, and other key stakeholders including national experts, civil society and academia.

EU Member State contributions

  • Align with the European Parliament’s demands to increase EU Member States’ contributions of EU gross national income (GNI) to 1.3% to guarantee that the overall amount of the proposed MFF is EUR 1 324.1 billion. An increase in long-term funds is critical to ensuring women’s equality, particularly given how scarcely women’s issues are addressed in only a few programme areas.
  • We call for a mid-term review in the proposed MFF (2021-2027) to ensure that spending priorities remain relevant.

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