Mind the GAPP (Gender Aware Policies & Processes)

Mind the GAPP (Gender Aware Policies and Procedures) is ERA’s project to advocate for improved gender machinery at a Federal Government level.

Current government policy development processes and systems do not adequately account for gender and women’s experiences. In the past we have had stronger gender analysis in Government. Over recent decades, these practices have diminished.

To achieve gender aware, responsive and transformative processes and systems within government, we do not have to start from scratch. By resurrecting gender aware policies and processes and investing in gender-responsive systems within government, we can improve policy outcomes so that they benefit all women in their diversity.

Government can take the following steps to better integrate gender considerations:

  • The Sustainable Development Goals must be implemented and monitored in a gender-responsive way through a central agency across Government.
  • Data must be gender disaggregated and responsive.
  • Budgets must be gender responsive.
  • Leadership and decision-making positions must be shared equally.

BUDGET 2016/17

ERA sent five young women to the Budget Lock Up – an opportunity for the media and special interest groups to see the budget documents within Parliament House walls prior to its release to the public – with Associate Professor Helen Hodgson. This was a unique capacity building exercise for the young women to access the Budget Lock Up and practice applying a gender lens to key policy areas in the Budget. Some of the young women shared their thoughts on the process…

 “The 2016-17 budget lock up was exciting, interesting and disappointing, all at the same time.
It was exciting to have the opportunity to capitalise on the knowledge of our “tax-perts” and, with their help, begin to really break down how budget measures impact people differently, especially women.
While it was exciting to be part of the “lock-up” ritual, it was interesting to see the demographics in the room, and, let’s be honest, how few women, particularly marginalised and/ or young women were present. To those who were present, thank you for not only welcoming us, but also validating our findings and questions about how unclear (and often misleading) the budget can be, particularly in terms of measures relating to violence against women, which was my focus.
Most importantly, however, the budget itself was disappointing. We saw only a small additional commitment to implementing the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children ($33 million in 2016-17), which is just tiny fraction of what is needed. There were cuts to Community Legal Centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services and no additional funding for homelessness services, Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services or Legal Aid, which face serious underfunding and are all crucial services in efforts to reduce and prevent violence against women.
This Budget was not only a missed opportunity to recognise and respond to the scale and urgency of family, domestic and sexual violence, but also undermines the services that are currently working to end it.”
– Megan Morris from AWAVA

 “I was very nervous waiting around to be let into the room where we would be locked for the next 4 hours. After some initial hesitation and the overwhelming thoughts of ‘I have no idea what I am doing’ things slowly started to make sense. Thank you so much to the lovely and patient ladies who answered all my questions and took the time to explain. I learned that things are not always obvious and sometimes you have to know exactly the right questions to ask.” – Anna Cook from Girl Guides

 “Budget Lock Up is a curious beast, it’s like attending a four hour open book exam but with a lot more talking. In fact it’s the talking which helps get you over the line. I really appreciated trawling the papers with 5 other young women under the guidance and mentorship of Helen Hodgson. There was always someone who knew the answer to a questions, or could put you on the path to an answer.
The work of applying a gender lens to Budget measures is ongoing. Without a Women’s Budget Statement, we’re left in the dark about the gendered impacts of such measures. Lock Up allows for a first brush assessment, but, without the WBS, fully drawing out what the Budget means for women is a much longer process.”
– Hannah Gissane, Project Coordinator of ERA

The National Foundation for Australian Women has assessed the Budget for impacts on women across a number of policy areas, including tax reforms. You can read more in their 2016/17 Budget Gender Lens.

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