The aim of the workshop was to educate members on gender responsive budgeting, to address gender related issues facing South Africa today, to read and understand annual reports (relating to gender equality) and to analyse budget reports.
The presenter chose to use the Department of Labour as a point of reference to focus on gender inequalities in the workplace and in the labour market.
The workshop was structured in such a way as to facilitate the presentation as well as group activities. The first group activity was based on gender issues in the workplace in South Africa and the differences between men and women in the workplace. The task for each group was to identify those issues and report on it using drawings instead of words and the other groups would guess what each drawing represented.
The second group activity was based on the presence of gender issues in the programme performance in a department annual report. Groups were asked to identify areas in the report where gender was implicit and areas where members would like to see more gender issues included.
The Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister gave an overview of events for the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children as well as speaking about the concept of the 365 day National Action Plan to End Violence against Women and Children
CASE presentation on Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB)
Ms Debbie Budlender of the Community for Social Enquiry (CASE) and the co-ordinator of the South African Women’s Budget Initiative, started off the presentation by defining Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB). GRB analysed the government budget for its impact on women and men, boys and girls and considered location, age, ethnicity & class (rich and poor).
GRB is policy analysis that goes beyond words on paper. It checks money is allocated to implement the words, whether money is spent as allocated, who the money reaches and whether money changes ‘bad’ gender patterns in society. GRB says that the Budget is the most important policy of government because without money no policy will work.
The presentation outlined five steps of GRB. The first was that GRB described the situation of women and men as well as boys and girls in the sector. It checked whether the policy was gender sensitive, that meant, whether the policy takes the situation as described into account. The third step in the GRB process was to check whether an adequate budget was allocated to implement gender-sensitive policy and afterwards, whether expenditure was spent as planned, that is, how it was spent. The last step in the GRB process was to examine the impact of policy and expenditure, for example, whether it had promoted gender equality and questioned what the policy did and if it changed the situation as first outlined.
GRB also took a rights-based approach in that it assessed the government’s commitment to women’s rights, it identified existing flaws in attaining women’s rights and identified necessary interventions.
The major benefits of implementing GRB included improved accountability of government and its representatives toward gender equality, women’s needs and empowerment and women’s rights. It improved efficiency by ensuring that those who needed it most, benefited from public expenditure. GRB improved transparency and reduced corruption and informed participation of women in planning and budgeting policies.
Ms Budlender further outlined what GRB was NOT. She stated that GRB was not about making separate budgets for women, men, boys or girls. It looked at gender as a whole. It was not about setting aside a certain percentage for gender/women. It was not about allocating money for women councillors to control. GRB was not suggesting an even cut, 50% male and 50% for every single expenditure and GRB was not only about “women’s needs.”
One of the new concepts within GRB was that of unpaid care work which suggested that housework, cooking, caring for children, the aged and the sick would fall under the category of unpaid care work which the System of National Accounts (SNA) did not count in the GDP but still regarded it as “work.” The GRB held that if unpaid care work was not done, society would be less efficient and if government did not deliver health or care services, women in households did so instead.
Three categories of GRB analysis were: 1. Targeted gender-based expenditure, which the presenter believed was usually less than 1% of the budget. 2. Equal employment expenditure on government employees, which formed a very tiny part of the government budget and 3.General budget expenditure judged for impact on male and female. The use of contraceptives was an example of women taking more of the responsibility in that regard but the general budget was not reflecting that.
Group activity 1 on gender issues in the workplace
At this point members were divided into three groups and given the task of discussing gender issues in the workplace in South Africa. Their discussions were to be presented in the form of drawings which other groups had to identify.
A similar trend which was found in all three groups’ drawings, was the inequality in the salary scale between men and women, performing the same jobs. They also demonstrated women’s lack of skills and how that would make it hard to catch up with their male counterparts in the job market. Pregnant women or women of a certain age were discriminated against when it came to recruitment as employers felt that they would not be able to give the time and commitment needed to accomplish the task. There were certain industries or fields of employment that employers felt that women or even men did not belong. Sexual harassment was still a major problem that all groups identified and although men also fell victim to sexual harassment it was a crime that was mostly affecting women. The drawings demonstrated that there was still much to be done to redress the gender balance in the workplace in South Africa.
CASE presentation on Reading budgets and annual reports
The aim of this presentation was to prepare members to read the excerpt of the DoL annual report and spot gender issues in the report and identify where they would like to see gender related issues focused on and finally to see whether any of their concerns identified in the first exercise were dealt with.
The presentation dealt with reading budgets and again excerpts from the DoL 2009/10 Budget Vote and the Department of Labour Annual Report 2009/10 were used as points of reference. The presentation explained how to read the budget tables in the Budget Vote and the budget and expenditure tables in the Annual Report and it described some of the narrative that was in each of those two documents. This included understanding expenditure tables, narrative in the vote, the size of the numbers given in those documents (billions, millions or thousands) and categorising expenditure.
With regards to reading the numbers presented on the annual reports Ms Budlender advised members to think about real and not only nominal charges, compare expenditure with original allocation, consider whether the economic breakdown was appropriate, compare trends in expenditure with trends in performance indicators and ask whether the performance indicators measure things that benefit people.
The presentation outlined the glossary of words used in annual reports budgets and discussed their meanings with members such as: virement, voted, rollovers, variance and actual expenditure.
Looking at the aims of the DOL in the Annual Report, Ms Budlender said the DoL was to play a significant role in reducing unemployment, poverty and inequality, through policies and programmes that improved economic efficiency and productivity. It played a role in skills development, sound labour relations, eliminating inequality and discrimination in the workplace.
Group activity 2 on Programme Performance in Department Annual Report
The next task of the groups was to read Programme Performance and Key Result Areas on pages 59 to 79 of DOL Annual Report 2009/10 and identify answers to three questions: 1. Where was there mention of gender? 2. Where would they like to see gender issues more focused on? 3. Were any of the issues in the first group exercise, addressed?
Groups found that while the annual report specified what their plans were for employment equity which involved promoting equity in the labour market, employment standards which involved protecting vulnerable workers and sound labour relations, it failed to give specifics or details around those plans. The hospitality sector for example was a female dominated industry but the DoL did not state in the report whether it had plans to redress that balance. Groups felt that “vulnerable workers” should have been defined and there were no statistics showing the ratio of male to female workers in a particular industry. All groups felt that question three was not dealt with in the annual report.
The overall observation was that the way most government departments were reporting, was gender-blind and gender issues were not regarded as important. The purpose of the exercise was to help members look at the budget in terms of how gender would be affected and to give members an understanding of how to read the annual report and analyse it in terms of not only how gender was impacted but also youth, children and people with disabilities.
Minister on 365 day National Action Plan to End Violence against Women and Children
Ms Lulu Xingwana, Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister, arrived later in the afternoon and spoke to members about the 365 day National Action Plan to End Violence against Women and Children and the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children. The growing rate of the killing and abuse of women and children had given rise to this Action Plan in 2007 and it kept an eye on these issues throughout the year and not only on a specific day. Events to raise awareness of the these matters this year had started on 6 November at a Rustenburg girls school where a campaign was launched to distribute sanitary pads to young girls. She said some girls were unable to attend school during their period due to no access to sanitary pads. They resorted to using harmful substances which resulted in illness. These girls lost a reported 50 days of the school year.
On 12 November the department launched the Disability Awareness campaign in Thembisa, Gauteng and 25 November would see the department launch the campaign again in Khayelitsha, Cape Town at the Oliver Tambo Hall. The Methodist Church would start the event with a national prayer service. The Minister would also visit homes in communities where there was violence and abuse. In particular it would visit the home of a woman who was raped and burned in front of her children and mother.
In a joint partnership with the Department of Human Settlements, the department would visit people who were homeless. It had been discussed that 16 houses per province would be made available to women with disabilities.
The Minister also planned to attend the disability summit in Bloemfontein, which focused on policy on disabilities. There was particular concern about people with disabilities who were homeless. The Minister mentioned three cases of people who were in wheelchairs but had no home. They had been identified and the municipality and MEC of that province were working to solve this problem.
On 10 December the campaign would close in Durban, where the Minister would visit two homes where family murders had occurred. She was expecting the President or Deputy President to officiate this.
The Back to School/Education campaign would kick off in January 2011, particularly in light of the incident at Jules High School in Gauteng where a young student was allegedly raped in the school grounds in front of her peers. The Minister said that the plan was also to mobilise males and to try and enhance their role in communities. The Minister said that they expected to table more issues early next year.
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