Cherchez la Femme in the National Budget of Israel: UPDATE

בחינה מגדרית של תקציב המדינה

The work begun by the Adva Center 11 years ago is taking root!

On July 8, 2015, an urgent meeting of the Knesset Committee for Promotion of the Status of Women was called, at which legislators and Finance Ministry officials thanked the Adva Center for introducing the strategy of gender budgeting to the government of Israel.  (A gender audit provides insight into how resources are divided between women and men, and to what extent this division meets the needs and priorities of women and men, girls and boys. In acknowledging that the state budget – the most important tool for distributing resources – is not neutral, but has differential repercussions on men and women, a gender audit of the budget represents a national strategy for promoting the status of women and narrowing gender inequalities in society. )

The purpose of the meeting was to make sure that the 2014 Cabinet resolution requiring gender audits of the budgets of all government ministries would continue to be implemented. The budget proposal for fiscal 2015 included the modest beginnings of such an audit. However, the proposal was placed in the drawer when the government coalition collapsed and new elections were called.

The urgency of the meeting stemmed from the desire of members of the Knesset Committee for Promotion of the Status of Women to monitor implementation of the Cabinet resolution. This is something they needed to do before the Knesset recesses at the end of July 2015 and before the new budget proposal for fiscal 2015-2016 is tabled in September 2015.

We view this meeting as another benchmark in our efforts to institute gender auditing.  A senior official from the Finance Ministry explained the gender audit work done by government ministries in 2014. Moreover, he assured participants that the work would continue in 2015. To emphasize the point, representatives of some of the ministries reported on their progress. One example: after examining the research grants awarded to women (19%) and men (81%), the Ministry of Science and Technology immediately began working to increase the number of grants awarded to women!

All government speakers, including Finance Ministry officials, warmly thanked the Adva Center for bringing the strategy of gender auditing to their attention. They also thanked Adva for having written a Guidebook that served as the basis for a guide that the Prime Minister’s Office was compiling for government ministries.

We at the Adva Center will continue to advocate for gender auditing, and we will continue to monitor the work of government ministries in this area.

And we will report to you on the progress made!