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Practice Guide to Auditing Gender Equality

Gender-Based Analytical and Planning Tools

There are a number of analytical tools and planning frameworks commonly used in the gender equality field that auditors should become familiar with. These can be important sources of information for developing knowledge of business, assessing risks, and determining sources of criteria.

Gender-based analysis (GBA) is a lens of analysis that examines and assesses existing differences between women’s and men’s socio-economic realities and life situations. It also analyzes the differential impacts of proposed and existing policies, programs, legislative options, and agreements on women and men. The use of GBA as an analytical tool is critical in designing legislation, policies, regulations, programs, or projects that reduce existing gender inequalities and that can promote gender equality. GBA is a management tool that can be examined by auditors and that can also be used as an audit tool. (Click to download a short document that outlines the key steps in conducting a gender-based analysis.)

Gender-responsive budgeting is a government planning, programming, and budgeting process that contributes to advancing gender equality and fulfilling women’s rights in particular. It entails identifying and reflecting needed interventions to address gender gaps in sector and local government policies, plans, and budgets. GRB also aims to analyze the gender-differentiated impact of revenue-raising policies and the allocation of domestic resources and official development assistance.

Gender-responsive budgeting initiatives seek to create enabling policy frameworks, build capacity, and strengthen monitoring mechanisms to support accountability to women who are disadvantaged and experiencing gender inequalities:

“A gender responsive budget initiative does not aim to produce a separate budget for women. Instead it aims to analyse any form of public expenditure, or method of raising public money, from a gender perspective, identifying the implications and impacts for women and girls as compared to men and boys. The key question is: What impact does this fiscal measure have on gender equality? Does it reduce gender inequality; increase it; or leave it unchanged?”
Source: D. Elson, Gender Responsive Budget Initiatives: Key Dimensions and Practical Examples, in Gender Budget Initiatives: Strategies, Concepts and Experiences, Brussels, 2001.

Ministries of finance have the mandate to set up public finance management systems, define budget ceilings, and ensure sound macroeconomic frameworks. Gender-based analysis supports ministries of finance to make better budget choices by highlighting existing gender gaps and the impact of public expenditures and revenue raising on women and girls, boys and men.

Over the past 30 years, a variety of forms of GRB have been implemented worldwide by governments in developed and developing countries, and at national and local levels. Many different types of gender budgeting methodologies and tools have been designed specific to different countries.

More than 40 countries have developed gender-responsive national development plans and sectorial plans. In developing these plans, many countries have taken into account the importance of unpaid work and how it factors into the overall economy. It is widely recognized that women perform the bulk of unpaid work in households and the paid labour force. The Gender & Work Database, an online research tool, provides extensive information about work and employment as they relate to gender and other social factors. The database provides comparative data for 33 countries, including Canada.

Unpaid work is the production of goods or services that are consumed by those within or outside a household, but not for sale in the market. An activity is considered “work” (and not “leisure”) if a third person could be paid to do a certain activity.

Source: OECD Social, Cooking, Caring and Volunteering: Unpaid Work Around the WorldEmployment and Migration Working Papers N°. 1162011.