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A Study on the Analysis of Gender Budgeting in Seoul
  • Date : 2021-08-10
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A Study on the Analysis of Gender Budgeting in Seoul

NA Sung-Eun
Research Fellow, Seoul Foundation of Women & Family


The gender budget for Seoul Metropolitan Government(SMG) amounted to KRW 272.2 billion for 60 programs in 2013, but has gradually increased to KRW 3.25 trillion for a total of 333 programs in 2020. In other words, the size and proportion of gender budget has been steadily expanded. However, the issue of the SMG’s effectiveness in managing the gender budget has been pointed out. In response, SMG has sought to improve the implementation of gender budgeting by establishing the FY 2020 Gender Budget System Improvement Plan.

It is necessary to systemically check if the target programs for gender budgeting are properly selected according to the improvement plan, whether they meet the gender equality status and gender equality goals of the SMG, and whether the causal analysis of gender gaps and performance objectives are being properly written.

Therefore, this study aims 1) to present the achievements and limitations of gender budgeting in Seoul by identifying the current operating system of gender budgeting and analyzing gender budget statements, 2) to draw out actual needs of public officials and gender experts engaged in gender budgeting in Seoul, and 3) to suggest ways to improve the implementation of gender budgeting.

Lots of data and papers were examined such as SMG’s gender budget statements(FY2013-2020), gender budget performance reports(FY2013-2019), official documents, guidelines, manuals, research reports related to gender budgeting, and so on. In addition, in-depth interviews with 25 public officials and several experts involved in gender budgeting in Seoul.

The outcomes are as follows.

First, although the SMG's gender budgeting has achieved quantitative growth in the number of target programs and size of the budget for the past eight years, it is difficult to demonstrate that the quantitative expansion has contributed to laying the foundation for the realization of gender mainstreaming throughout the municipal administration. It is further necessary to discuss the difficulty of explaining the consistent tendencies of each program in terms of gender budgeting and the tendency overcrowded in limited sectors and departments.

Second, the following characteristics have been discovered in gender budget statements; 1) being written intermittently, 2) marking the beneficiaries as unspecified individuals even though they can be classified, 3) writing the same number of beneficiaries every year, and 4) not suggesting the reasons even if there are changes of beneficiaries, performance objectives, and so forth, compared to the previous year.

Third, in-depth interview results can be categorized as 1) the low presence and complex implement system, 2) the antlion death trap, 3) the intrinsic limitations of not key documents but attached one, 4) the ignorance of the way to fill out the gender budget statements, and 5) the loss of direction toward gender equality goals.

Finally, the directions for SMG’s gender budgeting can be derived as follows: 1) operation of gender budgeting in connection with SMG’s gender equality goals, 2) strengthening activate linkages among the persons interested in SMG’s gender mainstreaming, and 3) changing perspectives on performance evaluation of the gender budgeting.

In conclusion, the ways to improve implementation of SMG’s gender budgeting are suggested as follows.

First, it is proposed that the vision for gender equality policies be prepared and the plan to establish gender equality goals based on current issues and research on actual conditions be actualized.

Second, the support for operating gender budgeting needs to be included in the gender advisor’s role provided in the gender mainstreaming operation system which is implemented to invigorate gender equality policies.

Third, the gender advisor should be included as one of the official members of the gender budgeting operation committee with appropriate revision of the The Seoul Metropolitan Government Ordinance Bill on the Improvement of the Effectiveness of the Gender Budget System.

Fourth, the methods to operate gender budgeting should be diversified by type of target program. For example, the in-depth gender analysis of the budget can be conducted on key tasks in Seoul.

Fifth, it needs to set up the persons who are exclusively responsible for supporting gender budgeting system and to designate the separate center for support gender budgeting. And it should be revised The Seoul Metropolitan Government Ordinance Bill on the Improvement of the Effectiveness of the Gender Budget System.

Sixth, the training program for gender budgeting should be divided by separate the regular course of gender-sensitive training and it should be included in the budget preparation training, the way of writing gender budget statements.

Seventh, it is necessary to search for new target programs for gender budgeting responding current issues sensitively and focusing on the effect of budget distribution by gender such as gender-sensitive analysis of response policies of COVID-19.

And lastly, the evaluation tools for gender budgeting should be developed which make it possible to expand the scale of targets and analyze these in detail. Furthermore, the policy laboratory should be established to try various ways of operating the gender budgeting system in the local government level.

*Key words: gender budgeting, gender mainstreaming, level of regional gender equality, performance indicators, ratio of gender benefit