Steps towards a more gender-aware economics
UN Women organized a five-day “Gender and Economics” training in Tirana between 4-8 July 2022. Representatives from state institutions, ministries of finance, national gender machineries, and experts from countries and territories of Western Balkans acquired advanced knowledge on the theory of feminist economics, application of gender budgeting in the fiscal and macroeconomic policies, gender inequalities in the care economy and the labor market. The training was within the frame of the regional project “Transformative Financing for Gender Equality Towards More Transparent, Inclusive and Accountable Governance in the Western Balkans” and "Promoting Gender Responsive Policies and Budgets in North Macedonia" financed by Sida and the Swiss Government.
Majlinda Nesturi, Director of Social Statistics at the Institute of Statistics of Albania finds the training successful; “In order to have effective policies in addressing gender issues, we first need data. It is important to have qualitative gender-sensitive official statistics for providing an accurate picture of the situation in the country. Albania will conduct the next round of the time-use survey, an important tool for providing time-use statistics showing changing patterns of how people use their time. One important issue which will be delivered by this survey is unpaid household work. Taking further steps to recognizing and valuing unpaid household work will be a challenge for the Institute of Statistics. Employing all the knowledge gained from this successful training will help to integrate the care economy issues in our statistics”
In a joint statement from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) the participants emphasize the importance of strong political support; “Long-standing gender gaps and inequalities have been deepened by the pandemic and the new economic crisis, but the governments do have a solution, it is called gender responsive budgeting. By structuring spending and taxation in ways that advance gender equality, we can help close the gap. The keys to success are strong political support, legislative requirements and the Ministry of Finance that is firmly in the driver's seat. And we in BiH are not hesitating in taking this road.”
Similarly, in a joint statement the participants from Kosovo also think the training was a great support in the general need to target gender inequalities in the Western Balkans region; “In the formulation of the Ministry of Finance, Labour and Transfer's Revival Package, as well as in other integrated processes, gender impacts and interactions have been and continue to be considered as crucial aspects of overall policy development. Through participation in this training, we, the participants, were able to better understand the improvements that could be made in the future by incorporating new approaches related to women's empowerment. As an institution, we are very keen to use models and methods that have been proven to work, but that also applies to the Kosovo context, with the overall goal of ensuring that the economy is two-way and does not exclusively favor one gender over the other. Therefore, this training not only provided useful knowledge in this area, but we consider that it should be part of a larger cycle of similar trainings offered to public administrations, especially in the WB6 region, as countries are still in the development phase and there is a strong need to target gender inequalities. The inclusion of concepts such as home economics and inclusive economic surveys, while ensuring that all labor market participants have fair and equitable opportunities, was an important by-product of this training.”
The training provided an opportunity for participants to network and share their experience and best practices on how their countries mainstream gender in national policymaking processes.
Svetlana Cvetkovska, Head of Sector for Equal Opportunities, Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in North Macedonia, mentions the importance of working with the Trade Unions; “Given, that this year, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, launched the Resource Center on Gender Responsive Policymaking and Budgeting in North Macedonia, the Gender and Economics training was a great opportunity to get new ideas of potential future training modules that should be provided to our public administration particularly focused on the care economy and mainstreaming gender in the fiscal and macroeconomic policies. The training was also a chance to understand the importance for the Ministry to work with the Trade Unions as well as with the Economic Chamber of North Macedonia in order to reduce the gender inequalities in wages and the labor market.”
Gordana Gavrilovic, Advisor to the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia and the President of the Coordination Body for Gender Equality underlines the key role of recognizing gender aspects of macroeconomics; “Gender equality is a universal value that has to become integral part of all public policies. In line with the priorities of the Government of Serbia and the Coordination Body for Gender Equality, gender mainstreaming of all sectors is key to future development and establishing of equal opportunities of women and men in our society. Recognizing the gender aspects of macroeconomics is of key importance for creation of gender sensitive public policies.”
Petrana Odavic, Advisor for Budget Macroeconomic Analysis, Provincial Secretariat of Finance of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, Serbia is keen to pass on the knowledge she acquired during the training; “Being an employee of the Budget Sector in the Provincial Secretariat of Finance, the training contributed to the broadening of knowledge on gender aspects of the economy, and specifically macroeconomics, as well as on the potential use of Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) in all fiscal indicators and influence on budget from the perspective of revenues and expenditures. I will ensure that the gained knowledge is transferred to the colleagues in the Secretariat.”
The purpose of this macroeconomic training was to strengthen the capacities of participants on gender-responsive economic policy, particularly macroeconomic policies, and to enable them to better reflect the needs and priorities of all people, particularly women and girls.
 All references to Kosovo should be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).