Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQs are arranged in two categories, category A respond to common queries about gender budgeting while category B answers frequently asked questions about the GRBI project.




What is gender-responsive budgeting (GRB)?
Gender responsive budgeting (GRB) is an approach to mainstream the gender dimension into all stages of the budget cycle. Gender responsive budgeting aims at analysing the differential impacts of public expenditure as well as revenue policy on women and girls, and men and boys, respectively. In addition to the impact analysis, gender-responsive budgeting makes proposals for a reprioritization of expenditures and revenues which takes into account the different needs and priorities of women and men. Depending on the country-specific context, one may also focus on other factors of inequality, such as age, religious or ethnic affiliation, or the place of residence (urban/rural, different provinces).

 What are the objectives of GRB?
Gender responsive budgeting aims at:

  • Formulating the budget in a gender-responsive way
  • Linking gender-responsive policies with adequate budgetary funds
  • Executing the budget in a way that benefits women and men, girls and boys equitably
  • Monitoring the impact of expenditure and revenue raising from a gender perspective
  • (Re)prioritising expenditure and (re)formulating revenue-raising policies in a gender equitable way by taking the different needs and priorities of women and men, girls and boys into account

What are the advantages associated with GRB?
There are several advantages associated with gender responsive budgeting. These include:

  • Improved monitoring of the achievement of policy goals
  • Alleviating poverty more effectively
  • Enhancing economic efficiency
  • Promoting gender equity/equality
  • Advancement towards the realization of women’s rights
  • Promoting good governance
  • Enhancing accountability and transparency

What are the steps for carrying out GRB?
GRB can take many different forms and incorporate a range of different activities. Underlying all of these, however, are the five basic steps of GRB, as follows:

  • Analyzing the situation of women, men, girls and boys in the country in relation to a specific sector (such as health) or issue (such as violence against women or poverty) to identify the important gender issues in the country;
  • Assessing government policies, programs and projects to see to what extent they will improve or exacerbate the situation described in the first step;
  • Checking that budget allocations and revenue raising methods (such as user fees) support those aspects of policies, programs and projects which do most to promote gender equity and women’s empowerment;
  • Monitoring that the allocated resources are spent as planned, as well as monitoring outputs – what services are delivered and who is reached with the resources;
  • Evaluating outcomes and the impact of the budgets and their associated policies, programs and projects to see whether they have improved the situation described in the first step.

What are the tools of GRB?
The GRB approach does not provide a single blueprint that fits every context. A range of technical tools for doing gender-responsive budgeting have been proposed, but they always need to be adapted to the respective national or local context. Possible tools for GRB include the following:

Gender-aware policy appraisal: Gender-aware policy appraisalsanalyse policies and programmes funded through the budget from a gender perspective by asking if policies and their associated resource allocations and the way these are implemented are likely to reduce or increase gender inequalities. A policy appraisal starts with a gender-sensitive situation analysis in the given sector.

Gender-aware benefit incidence analysis : Gender aware public expenditure benefit incidence analyses aim at estimating the distribution of budget resources among males and females. Benefit incidence can be calculated as the net value of the unit costs multiplied by the number of units utilised by women and men, respectively. By this means, the extent to which men and women, girls and boys benefit from expenditure on publicly provided services can be analysed.

Gender-aware beneficiary assessment: Policy and budget makers need to know if public money is spent in a way that meets citizen’s needs and fulfills their demands in respect of quality. A gender-aware beneficiary assessment is a tool that aims to gather information on the views of the actual and potential users of publicly provided services.

Gender-aware public expenditure tracking: In countries with weak institutions and poor accountability, budget allocations are bad predictors of real service delivery in terms of both quantity and quality. Gender-aware public expenditure tracking surveys(PETS)seek to examine if funds that are earmarked in the budget for a special purpose reach the intended service units such as health centres and schools.

Gender-disaggregated analysis of the impact of the budget on time use: Gender-disaggregated analysis of the impact of the budget on time use aims at analysing how government resource allocation and revenue-raising patterns impact on the amount of different types of paid and unpaid work done and the way that time is spent by women and men

Gender-aware revenue incidence analysis : Gender aware revenue incidence analysis examines if women and men are affected differently by the kind of revenues raised by governments such as direct (income, corporate taxes) and indirect taxes (value added tax) or user fees.

Gender budget statement: A gender budget statement is a document which summarizes what line agencies are doing through their budgets to promote gender equity and women’s empowerment. The statement ideally focuses on the largest expenditures of the sector, as well as on expenditures that are especially important in addressing gender issues. Gender budget statements are usually tabled on budget day alongside the other budget documents.

How can GRB contribute to Pakistan’s Poverty Reduction Strategy?

The core pillars of Pakistan’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) are:

  • Accelerating economic growth while maintaining macro economic stability;
  • Improving governance;
  • Investing in human capital;
  • Targeting the poor and vulnerable.

GRB contributes directly in the areas of:

  • Improving governance, (a) by making it clearer to government officials, legislators and the public what government is doing and why and (b) by increasing participation in the policy and budget processes;
  • Investing in human capital, by promoting the utilization of all the potential human resources in the country, without gender bias; and
  • Targeting the poor and vulnerable, by focusing on those who most need government assistance and are least able to provide for themselves, whether because of gender, location, poverty or other characteristics.

How does GRB contribute to Pakistan’s Medium Term Budgetary Framework (MTBF)?
Pakistan is currently moving towards a medium-term budget framework (MTBF) at federal level and in Punjab. MTBF is a form of budgeting that links budgets with policies. MTBF also plans budgets over a three-year period rather than assuming that things can be achieved in a single year. The MTBF approach places a lot of emphasis on the outcomes or impact of government policies and budget. Outcomes and impact are also at the heart of GRB work because the aim of GRB is to make a real difference in the lives of Pakistan’s women and men, girls and boys. GRB thus fits in well with MTBF. With small changes, the MTBF formats can be adapted to include gender issues in relation to objectives and policy priorities. The MTBF approach can also easily incorporate gender and other disaggregations of outputs and targets. Adding these gender elements to the MTBF involves very little extra work, but can bring significant benefits

Will GRB budget work increase the budget deficit?

GRB is not about asking for ‘more money’ for gender issues or for women. Gender budget work is about prioritization. GRB accepts the overall envelope of resources, but asks whether the way this money is currently distributed to have the best impact on women, men, girls and boys and different groups of citizens. It asks whether the current distribution of the available resources is the most effective, efficient, economic and equitable way of achieving government objectives, including the objectives of gender equality and women’s development.

Does GRB help Pakistan to monitor its international commitments?
Pakistan, like other countries, is required to submit reports on regular intervals on a range of international commitments. In the case of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which Pakistan ratified in 1996, gender is the main focus of the report. In other cases, such as the Millennium Development Goals or the Convention on the Rights of the Child, gender is explicitly included in the instrument and is considered key to achieving the overall objectives. The information generated by GRB assists in making reports on such international commitments more concrete by showing that the Government of Pakistan is prepared to allocate resources to make its commitments real.


What is the background of the project?
GRB appeared for the first time in an official document of the Government of Pakistan in 2001. In that year the Ministry of Women’s Development referred to GRB in a paper submitted to the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility of the World Bank. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) again referred to Government’s plans to introduce GRB. The Gender Reform Action Plans also provide for a range of activities related to GRB.

What are the objectives and expected outputs of the project?


  1. Develop skills to prepare, review and analyze budgets using the gender lens;
  2. Promote policy and resource allocation with a gender perspective; and
  3. Build advocacy skills of the Government of Pakistan and civil society organizations for gender budgeting.


  1. Government spending addresses the needs of women and men equitably and attends especially to the needs of the poor
  2. Budget reviewed through a gender lens, in order to analyze if budget allocations are in line with women´s and men´s different priorities and needs
  3. Civil society and government partnership promotes transparency in the determination of government priorities and in public spending

What are the coverage and sectors of GRBI?
In addition to federal level activities, the GRBI is also taking place in one province ( Punjab) and in two districts within Punjab, namely Gujrat and Rajanpur. This is in line with Government’s intention to get the three levels of government working together to achieve the country’s overall objectives. At national, provincial and district level, the GRBI is focusing on three pilot sectors. These are Health, Education and Population Welfare. These sectors were chosen (a) because they have substantial budgets and (b) because they are especially important for gender equity. During the project, the GRBI will make plans for gender-responsive budgeting to be expanded to all provinces and districts, and to other sectors.

What are the various stages for carrying out GRBI activities?
The project activities are planned as per following five stages:

1. Awareness raising and consensus-building In the first stage easily understandable information in the form of briefs and handbooks on gender issues and the differential impacts of budgets and policies on men and women will be disseminated amongst the stake holders, namely, federal, provincial, district governments, civil society and parliamentarians/ legislators

2. Training in gender budgeting for the stakeholders Next capacity building of key project stakeholders to analyze the budget from a gender lens will be undertaken.

3. Gender analysis of the priority sectors Following training, a team of researchers will develop a research agenda for gender analysis in selected social sectors of health, education and population and carry out the research and analysis.

4. Review of the research The research reports will be reviewed by the stakeholders to identify gaps in research and develop an appropriate strategic advocacy plan.

5. Advocacy This stage includes meetings with stakeholders at all levels, media discussions, public dialogues and articles in the print media aimed at advocating for gender equity in budgets.

Who are the implementing partners?
The project is implemented by the Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan and Finance Department, Government of Punjab in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Development, Planning and Development Division, Economic Affairs Division and institutions/civil society organizations working on GRB.

What is the arrangement for implementation?
For implementation a federal Project Management unit (PMU) has been established in the Ministry of Finance while the provincial PMU is located in the Finance Department, Government of Punjab. The federal PMU is headed by a National Project Director who is a full time serving official of the Ministry of Finance; similarly, the provincial PMU is headed by a Project Director who is a full time serving official of the Finance Department, Government of Punjab. A Project Steering Committee (PSC) under the chairpersonship of Finance Secretary, Government of Pakistan has been notified for ensuring overall guidance and support to the project.

How can the project carry out the GRB work without gender-sensitive data?
We often hear the complaint that Pakistan has very little sex-disaggregated and gender-sensitive data. This complaint is exaggerated. The Federal Bureau of Statistics and other agencies produce a large amount of data. In addition, various ministries and departments generate administrative data especially in the social sectors. For instance, the Education Management Information System and Health Management Information System produce sex-disaggregated data for the Education and Health sector, which could be useful for gender analysis. The main problem is that the available data are often not used to their full potential.

Which country can give Pakistan the blueprint of how to do GRB?
More than 60 countries have done GRB work of some sort. However, none of these can provide a blueprint for Pakistan. Firstly, the gender situation differs across countries because it is influenced by history and culture. Secondly, the standard budgets of all countries differ. Similarly, the details of GRB will differ across countries although the overall objective is the same. Pakistan is learning from the experience of other countries, but is developing its own unique approach to GRB.