Ahead of the tabling of Budget 2022 in Parliament, 20 civil society groups on 13 September launched the Gender Budget Group, a coalition spearheaded by Engender Consultancy and the Women’s Aid Organisation.
The group advocates for, promotes and monitors gender-responsive budgeting across all national Budget policies and allocations.
A gender-responsive budget looks at the impact of Budget 2022 on girls, boys, men and women. Gender budgeting notes the differences in situations, roles, contributions and needs of different communities and strata of society. It ‘responds’ accordingly by ensuring the Budget works for everyone – if needed, by allocating specific allocations for both women and men – hence the term gender-responsive budget. This is important, particularly during Covid recovery, as so many groups are not yet accounted for in our budgetary process.
The Gender Budget Group has submitted a collective budget memorandum to the Ministry of Finance for consideration for Budget 2022. Our memorandum focuses on key areas needing gender-focused allocations, such as gender-based violence, economic empowerment, leadership, healthcare, and education.
It also puts forth recommendations to ensure that the Budget meets social protection requirements for the most vulnerable in this pandemic – including single mothers, women employed in the informal sector, households headed by persons with disabilities, survivors of violence and those struggling with their mental health.
As such, we urge the Ministry of Finance, as well as other crucial ministries involved in rebuilding the national economy, to take note of our recommendations as an opportunity to push for a robust and resilient national recovery plan that benefits all in the Malaysian Family.
We ask parliamentarians to commit to debating for a gender-sensitive Budget 2022. For Malaysia to stand strong post-pandemic, legislators, think tanks, academicians and other civil society organisations must all come together in understanding the role we play in fiscal policy.
During the pandemic, Malaysia’s gender gap has worsened and the Gender Budget Group aims to ensure that policymakers address this alarming divide. To do this, the group calls for a consultative, transparent and inclusive budgetary process.