Tanzania: IMF study sheds light on fiscal policies to tackle gender inequality

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) – Gender inequality in economic opportunities persists worldwide, according to a new study released Thursday by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which found eliminating gender inequality can lead to faster economic growth, a higher quality of life, and women’s economic and political empowerment.

The IMF has conducted the first-ever global review of policymakers’ use of tax and spending policies to promote gender equality and has released an online database toolkit of gender equality indicators worldwide.

Its study found that gender budgeting can promote gender equality through well-structured fiscal policies and adequate and properly monitored spending on gender-related goals.

“Specific policies vary, depending on a country’s level of development and fiscal structure. In some countries, gender budgeting has inspired fiscal policies in key areas of the budget, such as education, health, and infrastructure, that contributed to the achievement of gender-related goals; and improved systems of accountability for public spending for gender-related purposes,” said the IMF staff who authored the report.

According to the study, successful gender budgeting efforts share certain key characteristics, including gender budgeting goals that are aligned with other national development plans; ministries of finance play a critical role, as do parliaments and spending ministries in supporting the political centre of fiscal decision making.

In addition, international organizations, civil society, and academic researchers provide crucial technical assistance and financial support. For instance, the study found that civil society and academic researchers also played a supporting—and, at times, catalytic—role in Mexico and Tanzania.

Another key characteristic was that policies were underpinned by strong monitoring. Effective gender budgeting efforts relied on governments improving policies and programmes over time, the study said, citing Rwanda where monitoring progress was crucial for success.

“In developing countries, gender budgeting efforts should continue to address key gender-related education and health goals as well as public infrastructure deficiencies, such as household access to clean water or electricity, that impose high unpaid work burdens on girls and women,” the study suggested.

It argued that gender budgeting efforts could also contribute to improved administration of justice, law, and order, to help reduce violence against girls and women.

“Gender budgeting can highlight the role that restructuring of income tax and indirect tax systems can play in the achievement of gender-related goals,” said the study. “Strengthened commitment by fiscal policymakers and governmental bureaucracies to incorporating gender equality goals into fiscal policies and programmes has the potential to reap large rewards for individual countries and the global economy.”

The project on tackling gender inequality was part of a broader IMF programme on macroeconomic policy in low-income countries, supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.

IMF staff will present the results of the study at an IMF conference on Fiscal Policies and Gender Equality on 7 November 2016.
-0- PANA AR 28July2016

28 july 2016 16:02:26

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