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Human Development in the Era of Globalization

Human Development in the Era of Globalization

Essays in Honor of Keith B. Griffin

Edited by James K. Boyce, Stephen Cullenberg, Prasanta K. Pattanaik and Robert Pollin

Honoring Keith Griffin’s more than 40 years of fundamental contributions to the discipline of economics, the papers in this volume reflect his deep commitment to advancing the well-being of the world’s poor majority and his unflinching willingness to question conventional wisdom as to how this should be done.

Chapter 11: Gender Equality, Public Finance and Globalization

Diane Elson

Subjects: development studies, development studies, economics and finance, institutional economics, political economy, politics and public policy, political economy


Diane Elson Introduction Global inequalities in the distribution of income, wealth, power and influence are enormous and the spread of rapid and cheap global communications has increased the awareness of hundreds of millions of people of widespread injustice and the unfairness of the global economic and political system. Increasingly it is recognised that equity is a global public good. (Griffin, 2003, p. 800) This chapter considers a particular dimension of inequality: the inequality between women and men, and boys and girls. It considers the interrelation between, on the one hand, attempts to make public finance more gender-equitable, and on the other, the fiscal squeeze produced by some aspects of globalization. The Beijing Platform for Action, agreed at the UN Fourth World Conference for Women in 1995, specifically endorsed measures to ‘engender’ government budgets, calling in Paragraph 345 for: the integration of a gender perspective in budgetary decisions on policies and programmes, as well as adequate financing of specific programmes for securing equality between women and men. Since the mid-1990s, a series of gender budget initiatives (GBIs), in both the South and North, have sought to improve the distribution, adequacy and impact of government budgets at national, regional and local levels, and to secure greater transparency in the use of public money, and greater accountability to women as citizens. The spread of GBIs has itself been an example of globalization, in this case the globalization of action for gender justice, facilitated by email, internet and air travel and supported by international...

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