Gender and the budget
5 July, 2017, 12:00 am
The three-day National Capacity Enhancing Workshop Conference on Gender Responsive Budget was organised by the co-conveners of the Fiji Young Women’s Forum (FYWF).
The forum was formed and is convened by Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA), Emerging Leaders Forum Alumni (ELFA) and femLINKpacific’s Young Women Leadership Team.
This workshop was funded by the British High Commission through the United Kingdom’s Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy.
The space created by FYWF for the 26 young feminists and activists from diverse backgrounds was to learn the importance of gender budgeting.
“This was a safe and enjoyable space and more of this needs to be done to educate people,” shared Gorgia Lilo one of the participant representing ELFA.
“As a gender leader in the Eastern Division and maritime islands, what I’ve learnt from this workshop I’ll take back to my grassroots level communities and give this information to them,” added Helynah Netani of Rainbow Pride Fiji.
The young women participants from different backgrounds were incredible fast learners because of their experience or the work they were exposed to.
They all were well connected with each other and at the same time were open to digest the new learning and even shared experiences that were related to gender responsive budgeting.
“We are taking the lead as young women, convening our spaces and projecting our voice at national and regional levels. We know that we are all accountable and that’s why I feel these kinds of spaces are very important,” shared Bonita Qio of Pacific Rainbows Advocacy Network (PRAN).
One of the most interesting sessions for the participants was the mock national budget submission session as they got to present, through their three groups, the various issues they thought were of concern for young women and why the mock panel should raise the budget allocations towards their thematic issue.
Fundamentally, the three days were an opportunity for young women to learn and apply national commitments to gender equality and human rights with tools that will enable them to make recommendations into the national budget process.
The participants were engrossed with the mass of information that was being shared which prompted them to ask relevant question during the question and answer session.
“One thing we learned was that gender budgeting is not just about the content of budgets. It is also about the processes involved in budget-making,” said Kelerayani Gavidi of ELFA.
“This is the work of mainstreaming gender budgeting. It requires an ongoing commitment to understanding gender which includes analysis and consultation and ongoing budget readjustments to take account of the changing needs of women and men, boys and girls.”
The co-convenors of FYWF also felt the workshop reaffirmed their purpose and added value to their work as an organisation.
“To be part of this gender-responsive budgeting workshop reaffirmed the principle of DIVA that while knowledge is sometimes regarded as power the dissemination of knowledge is also important,” explained Audrey Seru of Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality. “We can already identify where DIVA will use the knowledge from this workshop into our own grassroot social organising.”
The workshop was a very excellent and was very relevant to the learning. The presentations that were covered on the first two days were concise and the facilitators ensured that the examples were contextualised.
The panel and the radio with picture interview were well organised and the facilitators were impressive in keeping the panellist and interviewees engaged in the conversation.
“The production of Radio With Pictures in the Field was also a great practical exercise, especially for the young women who were new to the community media process, to bring in both their own experience as well as work with policies and data to strengthen their lobbying skills,” said Alisia Evans of femLINKpacific.