Government Spending

 ACCRA, GHANA: Market vendor Vida Ofori stands proudly at her tomato stand in the Makola Market. For 34 years now, since completing her middle school education, Vida has been trading at the Makola Market. Vida's story parallels that of the thousands of street vendors across the city: She began trading at an early age, following in her parents' footsteps, and now shares a stall with her sister, demonstrating the generational and family aspects of vending in the informal economy. Like the hundreds of market vendors here, Vida pays daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly tolls ito the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, as well as to Ghana's Internal Revenue Service. The New Makola Market Traders Union, under the nationwide organization of the Ghana Trade Union Council, represents more than 2,000 workers like Vida, fostering unity between workers via weekly meetings, and enabling its members to become self-supporting. Photo taken August 13, 2015 in Accra, Ghana. (Photo by Jonathan Torgovnik/Getty Images Reportage). FULLY RELEASED - CONSENT NUMBER: ACC036

Government spending on social protection, public services and infrastructure interact with women’s rights and gender equality, and can be a powerful tool when implemented in an integrated gender-responsive, transformative way.

Conversely, inadequate investment in public services and social protection will continue to harm women more than men, as women are the primary users of public services, and are also more likely than men to fill the gaps when these services are cut.

Mounting evidence suggests that austerity measures have a disproportionate negative impact on women and undermine gender equality. See: How social protection, public services and infrastructure impact women’s rights.

Many advocacy campaigns around economic policy and gender equality focus on the way in which resources are raised, but few consider how those resources should be spent.

GADN recommends that governments:

  • Use gender-responsive budgeting, involving women-led civil society organisations, to ensure sufficient resources are allocated to implement laws, policies and programmes promoting gender equality.

  • Ensure access to gender-transformative social protection for all women throughout their lives, without regard to employment or migration status. including the introduction of broad-based, non-contributory social protection.

  • Increase investment in social infrastructure, especially gender-transformative care services. This will provide decent work for women, reduce their unpaid care burden, and ensure better provision of care for the whole of society while improving the productivity of the workforce in the long run. Such investment is self-sustaining, creating employment – and particularly employment for women – that will generate future government revenue streams, so can be funded through deficit financing if necessary.