Skip to main content

Departmental Public Expenditure

Volume 473: debated on Thursday 13 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether consideration has been given to applying gender responsive budgeting to his Department's budget. (192113)

The Government are supportive of efforts to achieve gender equality and continue to work very closely with both the Women's National Commission and the Women's Budget Group on promoting gender equality within the UK.

In 2004, HM Treasury undertook a pilot project on gender analysis of expenditure with the Women's Budget Group. The project demonstrated the value of gender analysis in some areas and identified what tools and expertise were necessary within Government to carry out gender analysis, but that further work was needed before gender responsive budgeting could be implemented.

In 2008, HM Treasury will be conducting further work that will determine whether it is prudent and feasible to disaggregate departmental expenditure statistics by gender.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), for its part, supports a wide range of global initiatives—bilateral and multilateral—to tackle the barriers to gender equality including gender stereotyping, violence against women, social and cultural attitudes and discriminatory laws and practices. These initiatives include funding projects overseas which protect and promote women's rights, playing an active role as an elected member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and in other international forums including the EU and the Council of Europe, supporting their respective initiatives on gender equality, and maintaining a regular dialogue with Governments to help improve the human rights situation for women world-wide.

As part of the FCO's gender equality scheme, published in April 2007, the FCO is considering how best to champion world-wide the convention on the elimination of discrimination against women and the UN General Assembly resolution (A/RES/61/143), adopted in December 2006, on violence against women.

The FCO's view is that gender should not always be seen as an isolated policy area, unconnected to our other work. As such we have sought to mainstream gender into foreign policy, wherever possible and appropriate, by—for example—supporting and encouraging the involvement of women in peace negotiations, reconciliation work and in political and public life more broadly.

In all its work to promote gender equality the FCO works closely with other Government Departments, particularly the Department for International Development and the Department for Communities and Local Government, as well as non- governmental organisations active in this sector and the Women's National Commission.