Take five: “We want to make gender-responsive budgeting a part of every state institution’s budgeting processes”

Date: Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Mimoza Dhembi. Photo credit: UN Women/Yllka Parllaku
Mimoza Dhembi. Photo credit: UN Women/Yllka Parllaku

Mimoza Dhembi has been the General Director of Budget at the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Albania since 2000 and is one of the pioneers of the Public Financial Management reform in Albania. She has been crucial in establishing a successful collaboration with UN Women in mainstreaming gender through the introduction of gender-responsive budgeting in the Medium-Term Budget Program. UN Women offers technical assistance in gender-responsive budgeting to the government of Albania with financial support from the Austrian Development Agency.

Why did the Albanian Government introduce gender-responsive budgeting (GRB)? How does GRB advance gender equality?

Although Albania became increasingly sensitive to gender issues over the past 20 years, the biggest change began in 2013 when we introduced a gender quota for both national and local legislatures. The Government made including gender-responsive budgeting in public expense management a specific objective in its Public Finance Management Strategy for 2014-2020. This was significant and made the public sector aware that we were committed to effective gender equality policies and to allocating the public monies necessary for them.

Gender equality for Albania means giving women and men equal access to public services and eliminating gender inequality in the public sphere. However, as Albania remains a patriarchal society, several challenges that continue to hinder stable economic and social development remain. Changing attitudes will take time. Our biggest obstacle is the widespread view that a woman’s role is not equal to a man’s.

Are Government Ministries prepared for and aware of the importance of Gender-Responsive Budgeting? How did they embrace GRB? What is the attitude of the line Ministries responsible for executing GRB policies?

With UN Women in Albania’s valuable support, each year we note more and more key budget preparation actors aware of how important gender-responsive budgeting is. You see this in our Midterm Budgeting Programme, as a growing number of budgeting programmes plan and apply gender policies. There’s also greater interest in implementing gender-sensitive policies. In fact, gender-responsive budgeting is now a regular discussion point around budget negotiating tables.

Still, it would be very optimistic to say that we’ve achieved the majority of our goals. In our daily work, which is full of budgeting issues and emergencies, it is still unusual to mention gender indicators or institutions’ gender sensitivity shortcomings. However, we are legally obliged to pay attention to these issues – especially in our annual and midterm budget documentation preparation and monitoring reports. We also incentive staff to promote tangible gender-sensitive outcomes.

Read the full story on UN Women's regional website for Europe and Central Asia