Gender-responsive budgeting in Ixelles
The municipality of Ixelles, a signatory of the European Charter for Equality since February 16, 2015, has put in place gender-responsive budgeting. Ixelles is the first Brussels municipality to introduce a gender perspective in the budget process.
Contrary to what some may believe, a gender-responsive budgeting should not be understood as increasing budget expenditures or creating a new, separate budget for women. It is rather an integration of new priorities that take into consideration the principle of equality between women and men. It is the starting point for a public policy reflection process. The aim of this method is to raise the awareness of the people concerned in the administration and in the political cabinets about the work processes and identifiable actions to promote gender equality in their thematic areas.
The European Charter for Equality defines “gender budgeting” as follows:
“Gender budgeting is an application of gender mainstreaming in the budgetary process. It means a gender-based assessment of budgets, incorporating a gender perspective at all levels of the budgetary process and restructuring revenues and expenditures in order to promote gender equality.”
Breakdown of credit expenditures
In practice, a gender-responsive budget categorises expenditures. There are 3 categories of expenditure in the Ixelles budget: “neutral“, “gendered” or “genderable” budget.
The “neutral” category refers to internal functioning and expenditures that do not have a gender dimension. For example, the purchase of office equipment, office rental, water and energy consumption, etc.
The “gendered” category refers to the funding of specific actions aimed at promoting gender equality: for example, grants for gender mainstreaming training, the salaries of civil servants active in domain of gender or diversity, the management of nurseries, etc.
As for “genderable” category, these are expenditures that directly or indirectly affect people and may have a differentiated impact on women and men, girls and boys. Such expenditures may include, for example: investments in sports infrastructure, public lighting or recruitment services within the local administration.
Thanks to this initiative to make the Ixelles budget gender-responsive, the Commune began recruiting more women in so-called “masculine” occupations, such as the waste management and street lighting sectors. Thus, they also started recruiting more men in so-called “feminine” trades, like early childhood education and care. In addition, the Municipality of Ixelles has redeveloped public parks to make them accessible to everyone.
Additional resources and information
- A PowerPoint presentation (French) is available for download at: http://plaatselijke-besturen.brussels/bestanden-pdf-word/financien/ixelles.pptx
- The publication by Bruxelles Pouvoirs Locaux “Vade-mecum Gender budgeting, Expériences bruxelloises” (French, 2015) also features the experience of Ixelles in its review of gender-responsive budgeting among six Brussels communes.
- The Equal Opportunities office of Ixelles: firstname.lastname@example.org