Gender budgeting might not seem like the most scintillating subject for an event to mark International International Women’s Day in Angus.
But Kirriemuir councillor Julie Bell, who is helping to arrange the online session this week, said women would be “shocked and infuriated” when they realise how much public finances are weighed away from their needs.
The SNP councillor, who has organised the partnership event with the Scottish Women’s Budget Group (SWBG) , said the emotional and financial load-bearing role of women has never been more evident.
“Over the last few years, I’ve opened up Angus Council’s Town and County Hall to women to mark International Women’s Day and encourage more women into public life,” she said.
“It’s very interesting to do that surrounded by oil paintings of the ‘great and the good’ who have passed there before – all men in the Chamber.
“This year, obviously, that’s not possible, so I have invited the Scottish Women’s Budget Group to talk to us about gender budgeting, what it is and why we need to do more of it.
“If you ever thought the economy was a dry, boring subject, this will shock and infuriate you, when you realise just how predicated our current economic model is to the patriarchy.”
Choose To Challenge
“This year’s theme of #ChooseToChallenge is ideally suited to the notion of changing to a more caring economic model,” she said.
“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s about how valuable and important women are to a caring, wellbeing economy – how much impact the pandemic has had on women, as workers, carers, parents and academics, over and above exposure to Covid-19 itself.
“Bearing the financial and emotional load of caring responsibilities, home schooling, reduced income or job losses, we can see how little those roles are valued in our current system.
“If we understand more about this, we can work together to bring about change, because if our society works better for women, it works better for everyone.”
Guest speakers will be Sara Cowan and Heather Williams of the Scottish Women’s Budget Group.
Sara said gender budgeting seeks to tackle inequalities that can be built into the system and the session will consider the UK Government’s budget and how this links into Scottish Government and local authority budgets.
“As we’re online it gives us the perfect opportunity to take a deeper dive into the discussion to show that a gender-based budget has the potential to deliver a transformative model of local and national government finance that values people, health, wellbeing and caring,” she said.
“Gender budgeting can make a huge difference to the lives of women, children and older people in our communities and make sure no one is left behind.”
The free online event takes place on Thursday at 2pm.