The 'Budget Framework Analysis on Challenging Fear of Violence 2022' aims to analyse the country context, policies, and budgets of the fiscal year against gender-based violence and the associated sense of fear. In addition, this report also aims to help policymakers set priorities, evaluate implemented services, and accelerate progress in ensuring the rights and well-being of women and girls at the country level.
This report highlights existing gender norms and their manifestation while identifying current gaps and inequalities at the policy level and providing resources for the implementation of immediate and long-term interventions.
A recent report by Plan International Bangladesh titled "Policy Framework Analysis on Fear of Violence 2021" highlights the legal system's gaps, shortcomings, and practical limitations that deny access to justice and fail to build the condense needed to empower women. The analysis found that the government should increase its efforts to meet its obligations to girls under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and complementary legal and policy frameworks. This also means that the government should consider all aspects of investment in the budget for the fiscal year.
The Government of Bangladesh (GOB) introduced gender budgeting in FY 2009-10. As a tool, gender budgeting aims to ensure that gender mainstreaming is integrated into the budget system and process, and most importantly, that budget allocations at all levels are decided from a gender perspective. The MoWCA (Ministry of Women and Children A airs) receives the highest allocations from the gender budget. Over the past five years, the average percentage of the gender budget in this ministry has been 72.3 per cent. On the other hand, budget allocations to other sectors within MoWCA have increased over the last five years. Interestingly, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief (MoDMR) had the highest share of its total budget for women in development in FY 2021-22 (70.7 per cent), followed by MoWCA. Of course, the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education allocated the highest amount for women in development. However, none of the ministries has allocated any budget that especially addresses the fear of violence. In the existing gender budgets, violence against women and girls has been discussed prominently over the years, and several programs have been proposed and planned. In comparison, women's and girls' fear of violence is virtually absent from gender budgets.
This report indicates that some other factors of gender budgeting should be given more attention. At the national level, there are a number of projects to address gender-based violence, but they are not having a major impact, largely due to a lack of synchronisation.
Therefore, Plan International Bangladesh (PIB) will continue to advocate for increased resource allocation against gender-based violence, which requires special attention in planning and budgeting. In addition, a proper mechanism for monitoring and reporting on actual spending on GBV-related programs is needed. PIB believes that such analysis will be helpful for next year's planning and may increase or decrease the allocation of funds in specific areas.
In addition, funding for women working in the informal sector is not differentiated in the gender budget. According to BBS 2018, 91.8 per cent of women work in the informal sector, while 85.1 per cent of the employed population works in the informal sector. However, we did not see any specific allocation in the budget. PIB will prioritize working with government, civil society, private sector, law enforcement, legal and mental health support providers, young people, especially girls, and communities to address the root causes of fear of violence and resources to overcome the challenges.
Fear of violence has significant negative impacts on women and girls. It limits the movement and potential of women and girls, which directly impacts national growth. To eradicate GBV and achieve SDG goal 5, these invisible challenges should be recognised through the policy instruments and yearly budget allocation. The Ministry of Finance must address the constraints and take appropriate action. Otherwise, it is not possible to reduce the fear of violence along with violence against women and girls.
Dr Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director, Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD); Jobaida Behtarin and Nadia Nawrin, Programme Associates, CPD; Kasha Feroz, Director-Girls' Rights, Plan International Bangladesh.