A Case for Gender Budgeting in Nigeria

An analysis of the 2021 budget by the development Research and Projects Center (dRPC) showed that out of the total percentage of the spending plan presented by the budget committee in Nigeria, only N103 billion was allocated to women’s economic empowerment. This is a meager 0.63% of the total budget spending plan.

-department Research and Project Center

An analysis of the 2021 budget by the development Research and Projects Center (dRPC) showed that out of the total percentage of the spending plan presented by the budget committee in Nigeria, only N103 billion was allocated to women’s economic empowerment. This is a meager 0.63% of the total budget spending plan.

Nigeria currently holds the record for the second country with the highest maternal mortality rate. Primary healthcare centers are underfunded and overworked as they’re the most assessable healthcare facility for most Nigerian women, yet little to no policies are made toward funding and facility renovation. As of July 2022, there were 10 million out-of-school children and six million were girls. Although there’s funding for out-of-school children in Nigeria, there’s no target focus for the majority of children affected by the educational crisis which are girls. While the budget seems to address most of the spending needs, there exists a serious underlying inequality in spending focus. Women are being handed the short end of the stick as regards target funding for sectors where women suffer the most like; Health care, Education, Political participation, etc.

Gender Budgeting is an analysis of governments’ resource collation and allocation through the perspective of gender. At its core, this budgeting method is a strategic tool to promote equality through fiscal policies by assessing the impact of government spending and revenue on both sexes.

The importance of the adoption of gender-responsive budgeting in Nigeria cannot be overstated, it seeks to amplify the need for gender awareness in policy creation for ministries and agencies. In Nigeria, women are responsible for about 50% of the labor force in Agriculture and over 70% of the nation’s food supply, with 41% ownership of micro-businesses, yet women’s economic empowerment has continued to suffer huge setbacks in government budgetary allocation. Gender budgeting has a major impact on setting targets for equality and allocating funds to implement these goals. It creates an awareness of the effects of financial schemes on all genders.

Gender budgeting envisions the sexual division of labor and analyzes the economic and social marginalization of women through unpaid contributions to society and the economy. It suggests ways to reduce this burden and strengthen women’s economic effectiveness and efficiency. This method of budgeting promotes inclusivity for everyone; women, men, girls, and boys, by ensuring gender equity in resource allocation and by ensuring the provision of equal opportunities for all.

With gender-responsive budgeting, the process of budgeting becomes more transparent. Increased public participation in the monitoring of the equitable distribution of resources creates critical follow-up opportunities for more women to be consulted and their voices heard on gender-based issues that stifle them in varying sectors of economic and productive life.

One of the greatest criticism of the slow adoption of gender-responsive budgeting in Nigeria is the government’s lack of commitment to engaging policies that seek to ensure that gender equality is integrated into budgeting processes and that public revenue and expenditures are targeted toward the benefit of women and men equally.

As is the norm in developing nations like Nigeria, the measurement of gender equality would struggle with socio-cultural ideologies and political and regional acceptance. This is also a severe limitation for the proper adoption of a gender-responsive budget.

As much as gender parity in all facets is fair for all, research has shown the economic inefficiency of gender inequality. It reduces the socio-economic productivity of women through traditional gender roles. The economic empowerment of women is consequential to a nation’s productive economy.