The Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights (PpDM), as an umbrella organisation, contributes to the empowerment, articulation and mobilisation of Portuguese Women’s Rights NGOs and to the reinforcement of its networking and cooperation relations with European, Mediterranean and International NGOs working in this field, in order to strengthen and support these NGOs’ important social role as actors in the process of implementation of gender equality.
Back in 2015 the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights submitted its shadow report to CEDAW drawing attention to the financial crisis that hit Portugal which, coupled with the austerity policies in place since 2011, had created an economic and social crisis undermining women’s economic and social human rights, perpetuating and exacerbating existing gender inequalities, and creating new ones. That same year we sent 3 delegates to CEDAW and one of the main recommendations from the women’s NGOs was incorporating gender budgeting in the national Budget.
As a result the CEDAW Committee reminded the State party that, even in times of fiscal constraints and economic crisis, special efforts must be made to respect women’s human rights, sustain and expand social investment and social protection and employ a gender-sensitive approach, giving priority to women in vulnerable situations.
The concluding observations were translated by the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights and a hearing took place in the Parliament. These observations were also sent to the newly elected Portuguese Government. Furthermore, we’ve done work with the media, raising awareness to the disastrous underfunding of women’s organisations in Portugal and its umbrella organisation, the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights. As a follow-up, the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights received, for the first in its history, a State subvention, funded by social gambling.
The Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights was also requested to provide technical assistance in implementing a pilot project on gender budgeting in the State Budget.
In this context, gender budgeting was first introduced in the Budget Law of 2018 which stipulated that government departments had to prepare a report analysing the gender impact of their sectoral policies in order to pave the way for gender budgeting in the State Budget.
This was in line with policy indicators inscribed in the newly adopted National Strategy for Equality and NonDiscrimination 2018-2030 Action Plan on equality between women and men, to which the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights had been consulted and provided input.
This process was politically led by the Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality and the Secretary of State of Finances in close cooperation with the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights, the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality and the Directorate-General of Budge.
The pilot project enrolled seven Ministries – Presidency and Administrative Modernization; Finance; Internal Administration; Justice; Education; Work, Solidarity and Social Security; Health -, each of which selected a limited set of policy measures or actions to be submitted to gender impact assessment. An international workshop was organised with the goal of fostering learning from other countries’ experiences.
The pilot project ended with a global report in 5 chapters:
1. Accomplishments – the legal, institutional and procedural initiatives undertaken;
2. Reality – updated analysis of the situation of women and men in the policy areas covered by the pilot project;
3. Representation – participation of men and women in decision-making positions;
4. Resources and results – policy measures analysed in the pilot project, in relation to equality between women and men, including objectives and budgeted amounts;
5. Recommendations – measures and procedures required to ensure a progressive, sustained and consistent development of gender budgeting in Portugal.
A methodological guide including a tool for gender budgeting was developed by the Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights through a participatory process with the public administration officers (and in some cases cabinet advisers) appointed by the Ministries. The Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights designed and delivered a 21-hour training module to 23 civil servants. And, afterwards, at the INA – General Directorate for qualification of workers in public functions.
The pilot-project was intended to serve as a basis for a progressive implementation of gender budgeting.
Since 2019, State Budget Laws state that the budgets of public services and agencies should incorporate the gender perspective, by identifying the programmes, activities, or measures to be submitted to gender impact analysis, but no significant progress was made.
The Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights did work with the media raising awareness, as well as with the Parliament, and produced over time a number of positions. The Portuguese Platform for Women’s Rights in its capacity as a Counsellor at the Economic and Social Council has also been engaged every year in preparing opinions on the State Budget.
As a result, the State Budget proposal for 2021 identifies, for the first time, 8 objectives, 25 indicators and 19 concrete measures / actions in the context of the strategic challenges the State Budget aims to respond to related with climate change, the demographic challenge, the construction of a digital society and the reduction of inequalities.
“Use UN, EU and national women’s human rights norms and standards to put pressure. Create knowledge on gender budgeting based on the women’s experiences and have accessible information materials on gender budgeting, raising awareness about it at large Integrate bodies of consultation / influence, where you have access to information and a voice in the formulation of opinions.”
–Portuguese Platform for Women