Addabbo, Tindara (1); Picchio, Antonella (2); Arciprete, Caterina (3); Biggeri, Mario (4) (2017). 'Integrated well-being gender budgeting from a capability approach perspective: evidences from Senegal' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Cape Town 2017.


Applying the capability approach to gender budgeting is a relatively underexplored area of research (Addabbo et al. 2010). Differently from other mainstream approaches, the capability approach to gender budgeting acknowledges the complexity of the process which converts public resources into individual and social well-being supporting capabilities expansion and effective functionings of both women and men. This approach uses a reproductive macro framework that places the process of social reproduction of the population among the structural processes of the economic system: an economic approach that openly includes domestic unpaid work as a basic condition of its sustainability (Picchio, 2003). In this extended analytical framework it becomes very important to specify the institutional and political relation between national and the local budgets as municipalities are more directly related to real people’s lives as it is at the local level that public services are delivered to real people that can react politically and emotionally (Biggeri and Ferrannini, 2014). Within this perspective, while taking the responsibility of caring for other people in the intimate sphere (through unpaid work), women are actually bearing the final responsibility of the sustainability of the effective well-being of embodied and embedded women and men (Picchio, 2003). The recognition of the structural position of the process of social reproduction and of the complexity of real life at individual level, marks the analytical perspective and policy, extending the assessment of budgets to functions, objectives and social dimensions that are usually hidden or marginalized (Addabbo, Badalassi, Corrado and Picchio, 2011), and opens a wide prospect to social participation and public discussion on individual, group and social well-being. A space in which to reason in terms of integrated policy and sharing of responsibility of results and distribution of resources.
Therefore, differently from current UN Women approaches to gender budgets, this approach focuses on a multiple space of human well-being rather than on a list of gender inequalities as a base for assessing the gender impact of public expenditure and revenues included and classified in the budgetary accounts and documents; this implies that what national and local governments are ultimately made accountable for is the degree to which they impact on the quality of the living conditions of real women and men, embodied and embedded in specific social contexts given in time and place.
This approach has been practiced mostly at the level of local governments and public institutions, developing new tools and policy frames (Addabbo et al. 2007; Badalassi, 2007). These analyses have unveiled a number of mechanisms that reinforce gender inequality, have brought out the inherently integrated nature of policies, have fuelled public debate and have been finally translated into suggestions for promoting effective gender inclusive policies.
So far, the implementation of this approach has mostly taken place in developed countries. Furthermore, most of these studies have been conducted at different institutional levels (district level, regional level, etc. ), but each level has been investigated independently on the others. Finally, the selection of the dimensions of well-being has mostly been conducted by means of “institutional” criterion (by critically analysing policies and preparatory and budget documents), rather than by means of participatory methodologies.
The objective of this paper is to apply the capability approach to multilevel and integrated gender budgeting in order to develop tools and policy frames capable of integrating policy in a dynamic space in which individuals and groups interact with the local government in the expansion of possibilities and in the support of multiple functionings .
This study is part of a research project that is in progress in Senegal at both national and local level (in the city of Kaolack). By combining the national and local government budget and by adopting innovative participatory methodologies to select the dimensions of well-being (Biggeri and Ferrannini, 2014), this paper contributes to improve the policy tools available to researchers and politicians for understanding the root causes of gender inequality and to plan accordingly in order to support people to achieve a good life according to their life cycle and social context, both in terms of their diversities and common humanity.

***This research is part of a broader research project conducted by CAPP – University of Modena  and Reggio Emilia - funded by the Ministry of Woman and Child of Senegal and by the Italian Agency for International Cooperation to reinforce the gender mainstreaming strategy

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