Full text: Gender budgeting in Europa (99)

5. Short Presentations of some more Gender Budgeting Initiatives in Europe 
5.1 Austria: Watchgroup. Gender and Public Finance 
by Elisabeth Klatzer 
The origins of the Watchgroup. Gender & Public Finance go back to 2000/2001. A group of women 
from NGOs, public institutions and universities initially aimed at making the concept of Gender 
Budgeting known in Austria, spreading knowledge and motivating both government, opposition par-
ties and NGOs to pursue the issue further. With this in mind, the group published a book in 2002: 
“Frauen Macht Budgets, Staatsfinanzen aus Geschlechterperspektive” (available in German only). 
This books introduces the concept of gender budgeting, its potentials and its limits, reviews the 
main international initiatives and presents some approaches to engendering the Austrian federal 
budget. The work done on the Austrian federal budget addresses the overall macroeconomic strat-
egy and its impacts on women as well as gender impacts of government revenue (focusing on 
taxes, social security and user fees) and selected areas of public expenditure (education and re-
search, labour market policy and funding for women’s organisations). The analysis is by no means 
comprehensive but is intended to illustrate how gender budget analysis may be done in practice. 
The expenditure analysis in the area of education and research is guided by the Swiss example 
and methodology. 
The purpose of the book was twofold: governments at all levels (federal, regional and local) are ad-
dressed with a list of demands to introduce the concept of Gender Budgeting in a meaningful way 
into government policy, and specific recommendations are given how to change policies in order to 
achieve more gender equality. 
The Watchgroup pursues the approach that Gender Budgeting is much more than a Gender analy-
sis of government income and revenue. The aspect of transparency of the whole budgeting proc-
ess, the translation of results of the analysis into alternative policies, the inclusion of the overall 
macroeconomic strategy into the analysis as well as the focus on participatory processes are in-
cluded as equally important. This approach equally guides all subsequent work. 
In response to the book and the promotion of its ideas, attention was drawn on the issue, especially 
from women activists, NGOs as well as opposition parties (Greens and Social Democrats). Many 
women active in local politics have been motivated to think about how to introduce the idea of Gen-
der Budgeting in their practical political work. At this point there was a high demand for readymade 
recipes on how to do gender budgeting and disappointment when discovering that gender budget-
ing requires perseverance. 
Especially as a response to the demand for more practical assistance in how to do gender budget-
ing at the local level, some women from the Watchgroup started a new project, the development of 
a handbook with more practical guidance on how to introduce Gender Budgeting at the regional 
and local level (published in 2004, available in German only). Furthermore, a workshop design was 
developed in cooperation with WIDE Austria, building on the experience in Economic Literacy 
workshops to foster training of political activists and interested groups. 
Governments at all levels increasingly have shown interest in the concept and embarked upon pilot 
projects within public administration (as in Vienna) or commissioned external pilot studies (as the 
federal government or the Province of Upper Austria). All these pilots are (about to be) finished. 
Here in Austria, we are at a crucial point again, the challenge is to move from pilots to implementa-
tion in regular administrative work. 
In 2004 the Austrian federal government decided to implement Gender Budgeting. A Gender Budg-
eting Working group has been set up but without adequate political power or clear guidelines and 
without additional resources. And somewhat hastily a section on “Gender Budgeting” was included 
in the 2005 and 2006 budget material. Due to little preparation and coordination the material in-

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