Unlocking potential: Gender-Responsive Budgeting in TVET and skills development - Investing in women's economic empowerment

The ILO’s ProGRESS Project, funded by the Government of Canada, organised a dynamic discussion on ‘Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) for the skills and TVET sectors’ on 11 March 2024.

News | 11 March 2024
Participants at the dialogue on Gender Responsive Budgeting © ILO
ILO News (Dhaka)- Aligned with this year's international Women’s Day theme, 'Investing in Women: Accelerate Progress,' the discussion emphasized the crucial link between investing in women's education, training, and facilitating their entry into the job markets. Exploring ways to gender mainstream the revenue budget, the dialogue aimed at advancing gender equality.

UN Women Bangladesh shed light on the transformative impact of gender-responsive budgeting mechanisms in TVET and Skills development. The dialogue fostered shared understanding among stakeholders on the implications of Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) to accelerate women’s economic empowerment in Bangladesh. The participants identified and discussed challenges for the implementation of GRB within the skills & TVET systems.

The Dialogue brought together stakeholders from diverse sectors consisting of 65 participants (37 male, 25 female) from 10 agencies/ministries and technical training providers under the Government Bangladesh; development partners, INGOs, NGOs, and social partners who have been actively engaged to strategize advancing gender equality through budgetary mechanisms. Dr Farid Uddin Ahmed, PhD, Secretary, Technical and Madrasah Education Division, of the Ministry of Education, ; Ms Gitanjali Singh, UN Women Country Representative ; Mr Tuomo Poutiainen, ILO Country Director; and Md Aziz Taher Khan, Director General (Additional Secretary), Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) were among the distinguished guests in the event. Their collective participation underscored the importance of collaborative efforts in promoting gender equality through fostering skills development.

Dignitaries delivering their remarks at the GRB Dialogue © ILO
Key themes discussed included increasing budget allocations for women's empowerment initiatives, enhanced monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, targeted investments, and addressing systemic barriers.

Major recommendations

  • Allocate more funds for women's empowerment initiatives across sectors.
  • Enhance mechanisms to track expenditure on gender equality effectively.
  • Foster collaboration between government agencies, civil society, and development partners.
  • Implement targeted interventions to address systemic barriers and discriminatory gender norms.
  • Prioritize investments in infrastructure and support services.
  • Support effective women's entrepreneurship and market access.
  • Expand awareness campaigns to challenge stereotypes and promote gender equality.
  • Integrate gender perspectives into policy development processes.
  • Foster partnerships with the private sector for gender-responsive workplaces and inclusion.
  • Develop strategies for the inclusion of marginalized groups in GRB initiatives.

Key actions and the way forward

The following key actions have been identified for advancing gender-responsive budgeting initiatives:
  • Technical and Madrasah Education Division, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs will revisit the existing budget and increase the allocation and strengthen the monitoring of the expenditure.
  • TMED will enhance coordination between the government agency with the Directorate of Technical Education. The gender task force to be facilitated by the ProGRESS project will support the technical coordination.
  • TMED, Ministry of Transport, MoWCA will implement targeted interventions and prioritize infrastructure investments. TMED, Ministry of Commerce, MoWCA will promote entrepreneurship.
  • TMED, Ministry of Information, and MoWCA will expand the awareness campaign for TVET enrolment and skills development. The Ministry of Industry and Bangladesh Employers’ Federation will engage private sector to create market linkage and employment. The Ministry of Social Welfare and other relevant ministries will coordinate to reach out to marginalised people and the dropouts.

To advance the agenda, the formation of gender and skills taskforce will be instrumental for effective coordination and oversee the actions by respective ministries, to be implemented in a structured format, ensuring appropriate resource utilization.

The ProGRESS project is a joint initiative of the Government of Bangladesh and the International Labour Organization, funded by the Government of Canada. The partnership will strengthen TVET and enterprise development systems, to make them more inclusive and accessible for women by working on policies, systems and operational levels. ProGRESS stands for ‘Promoting Gender Responsive Enterprise Development and TVET Systems’.