Karnali Province and Gender Responsive Budget
Gender specific issues like, chhaupadi, child marriage, domestic violence, and reproductive health are some of the highly prevailing issues of Karnali province following which the status of women is inferior there. However, the provincial government budget has failed to address these issues. Ministry for Social Development didn’t incorporate gender responsive budget in 2019/20. In the two previous fiscal years, the ministry didn’t allocate even 5% gender responsive budget. In 2019/20 FY, the province allocated small programs for women with very little budget. Low women representation in the budget formation committee and planning commission are the reasons behind the less gender responsive budget.
What is GRB? Why it is important?
Gender-responsive budgeting is not about creating separate budgets for each gender or gender specific programs. Rather, gender-responsive budgeting seeks to ensure that allocation of budget is carried out in ways that are effective and contribute to advancing gender equality.
Due to the difference in biological and social roles, each gender has different and diverse needs and interests. Women have always been poorer among the poor. Due to extra work burden, biological roles, less human capital (education, information, training, and knowledge), and socio-cultural norms, women’s condition and position are lower than men in the province. To address those needs, GRB is needed as it supports to ease the livelihood of women. Women constitute half of the population overall. Without addressing the needs of the women, development cannot be achieved. As such, budget has to be beneficial for all the citizens. But policy makers often neglect these aspects, and gender neutral budget continues to be the norm.
Karnali province lags far behind in terms of social development. Most of the people of this region live under vicious circle of poverty. So the allocated budget needs to enhance the lives of all the people. Due to lack of gender sensitivity in the policy makers, allocated budget has not been able to efficiently upgrade the status of its people. There are lots of harmful and discriminatory practices prevailing in the Province and a proper resource is needed to combat all these issues.
The decision makers
always prioritize physical or infrastructure development in Karnali province
and neglect the social issues, but both physical and social developments need
to be prioritized simultaneously to achieve prosperity, especially in provinces
which have low development indices.
Author: Prabha Poudel