Women get short end of stick in distribution of municipal budgets, survey finds

Photo: CTK

A fresh survey by the NGO Forum 50%, which strives for equal rights for both genders, suggests that towns and villages in the Czech Republic spend significantly more on men’s needs and interests than women’s. According to the survey, seven out of eight municipalities favored men in their budget distribution. In one case, only 18 percent of a town’s funds went to activities and resources for women. The author of the analysis, Marcela Adamusová, explains the main findings of the study.

Marcela Adamusová
“The main aim of our research was to analyze the extent to which men and women benefit from expenditures on sports, culture, leisure time and NGOs. And we wanted to emphasize that the budgets are not gender-neutral, but that they have different impacts on women and men, and other groups of citizens like the disabled, seniors and minorities and so on.

“The main findings were that the budgets are unbalanced. Men benefit from the expenditures on those four categories more than women. For example in the category of sport, in two municipalities, women gained only seven percent of the amount of the expenditures on sports.”

How many municipalities did you include in total?

“We examined eight budgets, in one case we made a more detailed analysis. We focused on strategic plans and the way money for NGOs is distributed.”

Were there regions in the Czech Republic that did worse than others?

“It wasn’t quantitative research, so it’s quite difficult to compare the municipalities, because there were towns and villages with different sizes of population.

Photo: CTK
“But what we can say was obvious is that in municipalities with more balanced participation of women and men in the municipal council, there was also a more balanced budget.”

In terms of positive results, were there towns or cities that had a more balanced budget, one that is fairer to both genders?

“Yes, there was one really small village, Staňkovice, where the expenditures on those budget categories were more gender balanced, and we think that it is because the village actively promotes politics of equal opportunities. And they have signed the European charter of equality for women and men on a local level and we think the gender-balanced budget is one of the results.”

So what needs to happen in Czech politics to create more villages like Staňkovice?

“I think the first step is recognizing that budgets are not gender-neutral. Because if you don’t realize that, then you do not try to solve or address it as a problem.”