National planning and budgeting

Photo: Eskişehir Metropolitan Municipality

National plans, policies, institutions and budgets are where governments begin to translate their commitments to women into practical steps towards gender equality. Too often, however, they fail to ensure that public services respond to women’s needs and priorities.

Gender-responsive budgeting is an innovative public policy tool that comprehensively assesses gender funding gaps and identifies actions to close them. It addresses gender bias and discrimination by analysing government budgets to ensure that national commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment are adequately funded.

UN Women in Turkey works with the local governments to integrate gender equality and gender-responsive budgeting in their planning and policy making work and to hold governments accountable for their gender-equality commitments.

UN Women in Action in Turkey

In cooperation with UNDP, Sabancı University, Turkey’s ministries of the Interior, Education, and Family and Social Policies, the Union of Municipalities of Turkey, UN Women has been responsible for carrying out the gender-responsive budgeting component of the Joint UN Joint Programme Promoting the Human Rights of Women. Funded by the Sabancı Foundation, the project seeks to increase the capacities of local administrations, women’s civil society organizations and women studies centres at universities in 11 provinces monitor local governments’ efforts to comply with national gender equality commitments in their plans and budgets.

UN Women has conducted training in gender-responsive budgeting for 332 people from municipalities and civil society organizations. It has also prepared manuals so that municipalities could analyse, develop and monitor their plans and budgets from a gender perspective.

As a result of UN Women’s gender-responsive budget training, the new strategic plans (2015-2019) of Eskisehir, Çanakkale, Gaziantep, Kocaeli and Edirne municipalities include for the first time gender equality goals, targets and indicators, thereby ensuring that these municipalities will develop gender-responsive services and allocate sufficient budget for them.

This has already had an impact. Edirne Municipality hired its first female public transport system bus driver. In addition, Edirne’s new Strategic Plan includes hiring two female bus drivers each year until the end of planning period. To encourage women to apply, the Municipality will not collect the standard annual license charge from female drivers employed in public transportation.

After the training, Eskisehir Municipality conducted a gender analysis in health that found rural women had no access to free cancer screening. The Municipality then began to offer support services to rural women, including awareness raising on the importance of early cancer screening; making health centre appointments; and providing rural women with free public transport so they could access cancer screening. So far, 707 rural women have benefited from this service.

Erzincan municipality established a child care unit in a recreational area to women who previously were usually confined at home, and eliminated discrimination in its hiring practices.