Full text: Gender budgeting in Europa (99)

19 ? Work and family reconciliation (one meeting on child care and one on the care of the aged) ? Gender empowerment ? Immigration The first two topics were suggested by us the "experts", while the last was suggested by the work- group: immigration is a relatively recent phenomenon in the province of Siena, with a strong social impact on these communities. Discussion on specific topics A typical meeting began with an introduction prepared by the experts to bring out the importance of the topic. We presented the data that we had been able to collect, keeping as close as possible to the local situation. Putting this information together was not an easy job: national statistics do not provide data at a micro-level; there are public institutes which monitor the regional or provincial si- tuations, but their reports are inhomogeneous in quality and not always available. Quite often the most disaggregated data available were at a regional level. The lack of data (or the cost of its col- lection) is indeed one of the problems of GA at local level. The introductory remarks always proved useful. We were surprised at seeing how little was known about the real situation even by those who were supposed to govern it. After the introduction, a form was distributed to collect quantitative and qualitative information about the services provided by each individual Comune, regarding the issue under discussion, to be filled and collected for the next meeting. For example, a question aimed at gathering quantitative information was: "How many hours per day are the nursery schools open in your Comune?" But yes-or-no questions were also asked, such as "Do you provide immigrant women with a place where they can meet?" The next step was to put together the information provided by each Comune. To give you an example, Table 2 summarizes the results of our inquiry on the number of places and opening times of cr?ches for children aged 0-2: Table 2: Places in cr?ches for children aged 0-2 Asciano Casteln. Chiusi Montepulc. Poggibonsi Rapolano Siena How many places 11 34 30 44 137 14 336 Public 34 44 127 14 220 Semi-public 11 Private, but subsidised 10 48 Outsourced 30 68 Days per week 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 Hours per day 10 9 10,5 8,3 8,3 9 8,1 Weeks per year 38 44 42 42 42 44 42 Population aged 0-2 188 248 182 297 821 106 1.245 Places/children 6% 14% 16% 15% 17% 13% 27% Once the data for each single Comune were gathered, they were compared, and this was the most important part of the exercise. In other experiences, when we needed to assess the performance of an administration, we usually had to resort to national or international "benchmarks". We do not want to deny that this can be useful, in so far as it points at a goal to be reached in the long run. However, knowing that over 60 per cent of children in Denmark have a place in a cr?che does not have the same impact on a local administrator as the five or six more percentage points of the same indicator in a nearby town. You can see that the final row of the table - the percentage of in-

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