Senator Alice-Mary Higgins has stated that gender and equality proofing of the Budget will lead to better fiscal decisions and better outcomes for everyone in society.
Senator Higgins’ comments come as she hosts a lunchtime discussion for Oireachtas members involved in the Women's Caucus on the subject of Gender Budgeting on Tuesday 13th June in Leinster House.
Senator Higgins welcomes special guests Christina McKelvie (Member of Scottish Parliament and Convenor of the Scottish Parliament's Equalities and Human Rights Committee), Emma Ritch (Executive Director, Engender Scotland) and Eilís Ní Chathnía (Policy Officer, National Women's Council of Ireland).
Senator Alice-Mary Higgins said today, “When I was elected to Seanad Éireann on the NUI panel, I committed to continue my work for equality, including equality between men and women. In organising this event, I want to contribute to greater awareness and understanding amongst my fellow policy makers on the importance of gender budgeting and how, if implemented properly, it can help lead to better decisions and budgets that work for everyone.
“To offer just one example, the disproportionate cuts which women in our pension system have suffered in recent years are the kind of thing that might have been avoided if Ireland had applied a gender budgeting perspective.
“I look forward to working with parliamentarians from all parties and none to encourage the Government to deliver its commitment to gender and equality proofing in Budget 2018 and beyond."
The Programme for a Partnership Government commits to ensuring that "the institutional arrangements are in place to support equality and gender proofing in the independent fiscal and budget office and within key government departments.” However, work in advancing this commitment is still at an early stage in Ireland.
In Scotland, equality and gender proofing are an established part of the budgetary process. Indeed, a formal 'Equality Statement' is produced to accompany each year’s budget.
MSP Christina McKelvie and Engender Scotland’s Emma Ritch will share their extensive experience in this area, offering practical insights into how gender budgeting operates in Scotland and discussing the benefits it can bring to society and economy.
Emma Ritch, Executive Director of Engender Scotland said, “The most successful gender budgeting programmes around the world involve strong partnerships between parliament, government, and civil society.”
“I am delighted to be here with Christina McKelvie MSP to meet with Irish parliamentarians and officials to share what we have learned in Scotland and support this new gender budgeting initiative.”
“The prize is a budget, including taxation and spending plans, that more accurately reflects and responds to the needs of a country's citizens."
Eilís Ní Chathnía (NWCI) will discuss the measures currently underway around gender proofing in the Irish context and some of the possible next steps for Ireland.
In addition to meeting with members involved in the Women's Caucus, MSP Christina McKelvie and Emma Ritch will be meeting with TDs from the Oireachtas Budgetary Oversight Committee.
Issued: Monday 12th June 2017