Governments at different levels, including at autonomous regional or sub-national level, are legitimate arenas for gender responsive budgeting. In the UK, the legislatures and executives in the countries that comprise the UK are known as devolved governments, and operate in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Devolved government offers unique opportunities for the participation and representation of women in elected politics, and for the promotion of gender equality policies. In the UK, the devolution of powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly and Scottish Parliament in 1999 opened up such opportunities.
These pages highlight the work of our two sister organisations, the Scottish Women’s Budget Group and the Northern Ireland Women’s Budget Group.
The women’s budget groups that emerged from Northern Ireland and Scotland adopted different approaches. In Scotland the focus was on process while in Northern Ireland protest was key. Scottish feminist activists used the creation of new budgetary processes and fiscal responsibilities as an opportunity for gender budgeting. In Northern Ireland, the budget process was less accessible to feminists. They turned their attention to campaigning against specific policy reform that would hit low-income women. Both are useful case studies in the different ways feminist groups can lobby for greater governmental consideration of gender impacts.