A seminar on gender-responsive budgeting opened in Shitang County in the city of Wenling, east China's Zhejiang Province, on December 30-31.
The aim of the seminar was to mend and adjust regional budgeting so as to further promote gender equality, organizers said. Meanwhile, it is the first time a seminar of this kind has been held in the local region, organizers added.
Gender-responsive budgeting, abbreviated as GRB, refers to methods that integrate a gender perspective into the evaluation of different impacts on women and men, or on girls and boys, caused by the fiscal revenue and expenditure allocated by a government.
Those in attendance at the seminar included president of the local People's Congress; the deputy township head; staff members from the Office of Finance and women's federations in the local area; and some village officials, members of the Women's Committee as well as related workers.
Organizers claimed that the city of Wenling was the first to suggest combining democratic deliberation and the local government's working mechanisms to form the main method of accessing regional gender-responsive budgeting.
Moreover, at the beginning of 2010, the Wenling Women's Federation introduced the "Participatory Gender Budget" as a new approach of women's participation in decision-making. Meanwhile, the operation of "participatory budgeting" has been extended to include an analytic framework to deliberate and oversee the local government's financial budget from a gender perspective.
In order to meet the requirements of the seminar, officials of the city of Wenling and the township have established professional groups supervising the work of gender-responsive budgeting in the local area.
So far, the number of female staff members who have joined the Women's Committee between the city and the town is 14,020, accounting for over 30 percent of all members.
In addition, the grassroots women's federation often holds training sessions, lectures and seminars around gender consciousness for local women.
To better calculate the budget, the local grassroots women's federation has played an active role in organizing the investigation group to visit households door-to-door in a bid to collect relevant suggestions and data.
Staff members of the federation are then responsible for sorting out these opinions and integrating them into the budget plan.
Furthermore, experts were invited to give professional guidance to the female representatives in order to help them evaluate the budget from the view of gender.
Xinhe County has particularly arranged for female candidates to take part in the discussion with female-focused enterprises and educational groups.
Concerning the large budget of the women's project, women's federations at all levels in the province called on the female representatives to carefully supervise the operation of the scheme.
Li Juefen, president of Wenling Women's Federation, said, "A series of measures have been undertaken to protect local women's rights and interests in terms of healthcare, political participation, education and employment."
The rate of female representatives who attended the seminar was much higher than that of the male's, Li stated. At the same time, more grassroots women have shown great enthusiasm for decision-making, management, supervision and political participation, which will forge a great power in advancing gender equality, Li maintained.
(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)
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