Full text: Gender budgeting in Europa (99)

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4. Gender Budgeting – European Models and Initiatives 
4.1 Local gender budgeting projects in the Tuscany, Italy – by Annalisa Rosselli 
Gender Audit at a local level 
The project that I am going to present at this conference has 
many novel features that make it worth your attention. It is 
one of the first cases of Gender Audit (GA henceforth) in 
Europe involving small communities, which tries to solve 
some of the problems encountered in past GA experiences 
by linking the communities in a network. The project - which 
is not yet concluded - involves eight Comuni (a Comune is 
the smallest administrative unit in Italy) in the wealthy and 
famous province of Siena, in Tuscany. It is entirely an "in-
side" government project, promoted by a member of 
Siena's provincial government (a woman who is responsible 
for Welfare and Equal Opportunities), and had no support 
either from women's organizations or from civil society. It was funded by a donation to the 
Comune of Siena from a private foundation, a bank established in Siena centuries ago, which con-
tributes generously to the town's budget. Before describing the project in detail I would like to say a 
few words to explain why in Italy all GA experiences that you may have heard of have been at a lo-
cal level. 
GA was introduced in Italy in September 2000, when I organized, together with professor Fran-
cesca Bettio, and with the financial support of what was then called the Special Commission for 
Equal Opportunities, an international workshop in Rome, in which several international experts and 
members of the national government participated. The workshop was extremely successful and the 
people who attended – local administrators, trade unionists and academic researchers – showed a 
real interest in the issue. Unfortunately, a few months later, the general election brought a change 
of government, and the new Cabinet showed not the slightest interest in GA. However, some of 
those who had attended the workshop and were convinced of the importance and usefulness of 
GA, tried to put into practice in their own administrations what they had learned about the experi-
ments being carried out abroad. Since then, in Italy we have had a number of GA initiatives at a re-
gional, provincial and municipal level. These levels differ not only in size - the regions (20 alto-
gether) being larger than the provinces (which number 103) and the provinces being larger than the 
Comuni (there are over 8,000 Comuni in Italy). The most important difference is in the structure of 
the budgets, which itself arises from the division of responsibilities. About 60 per cent of a typical 
Italian region's total expenditure is devoted to health services; about 30 per cent of a municipality's 
total expenditure goes into social services and more or less the same amount goes into public 
transport and waste collection. The province, on the other hand, is responsible for labour market 
policies and training programs. GA thus requires different approaches and areas of expertise ac-
cording to the level at which it is carried out. We can roughly summarize the situation as follows: 
? Regional level: GA requires access to National Health Service data and a team of ex-
perts which includes some with medical expertise; 
? Provincial level: GA implies assessment of training programs and labour market policies; 
? Municipal level: GA concerns social services, transport and environmental policies. 
In spite of the differences, the methodology followed in most of the GA initiatives at local level has 
been roughly similar. The first step is producing a list of quantitative and qualitative indicators to as-
sess equity and effectiveness from a gender perspective. Then the indicators are compared with
        

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