By Rana Husseini
As of 2011, women across the Kingdom are expected to benefit from policy changes as part of the largest gender-responsive budgeting initiative in the county′s history, according to officials.
In a launch ceremony held on Sunday by the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW), HRH Princess Basma underlined the importance of the nationwide project to outline progressive policy changes as part of next year′s state budget.
"This project is a new and important step towards empowering women and ensuring justice and equality between men and women based on their roles and needs and in a manner that will achieve equal development leading to social progress," said the Princess, who is JNCW president.
Addressing local and government representatives, she highlighted that the initiative comes as implementation of the JNCW′s strategy and is being prepared by the commission in cooperation with several relevant ministries.
Princess Basma noted that the second phase of the project aims to establish institutional bodies that will guarantee the adoption of a gender-responsive budgeting project to incorporate in the country′s state budget for next year.
Gender-responsive budgeting generally refers to government budgets that are formulated based on the assessment of the difference in the roles and needs of women and men in society, according to project director Muna Motamen.
The aim of the budget is to reflect the needs of women during the policy development process, including budget preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, she said.
"It is not a separate budget for women; it works to encourage a more efficient use of resources to achieve equality between women and men and the attainment of human development," Motamen explained, underlining that increased investment in human resources will help the Kingdom maintain its competitiveness.
JNCW Secretary General Asma Khader said imbalances in financial resources are a major challenge facing individuals and institutions working in the field of women′s development.
"This means that there is an urgent need to ensure a fair distribution of financial and human resources," she said.
The ministries of education, health, higher education, social development, planning, finance and labour are taking part in the project.
Also during Sunday′s event, several ministers outlined strategies being adopted to guarantee gender-balanced employment opportunities and relevant projects.