Essays in Honor of Keith B. Griffin
Edited by James K. Boyce, Stephen Cullenberg, Prasanta K. Pattanaik and Robert Pollin
Chapter 11: Gender Equality, Public Finance and Globalization
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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