For the first time, Budget 2023 includes a gender budgeting ‘snapshot’. Gender budgeting is a powerful tool for understanding how and to what extent people will be affected differently by initiatives depending on their gender. Applying a gender lens ensures that budgets can support a gender-equitable, inclusive future and do not embed inequalities further. Fifteen agencies (triple the number of agencies from last year’s pilot) participated in the Gender Budgeting Exercise for Budget 2023 and covered 27 initiatives. Manatū Wāhine Ministry for Women supported agencies to identify the anticipated impacts on women and girls, particularly for Māori, through a Gender Budgeting Toolkit. The initiatives included in the exercise are likely to achieve targeted outcomes for whānau, pregnant women, sole parents and sole mothers, wāhine Māori, Pacific women, disabled women, working women and ākonga students. Building on the success of a prior prototype, the Ngā Tini Whetū initiative will provide targeted support for 650 wāhine hapū and their whānau and tamariki. It will deliver this by extending its focus to include the wellbeing of hapū māmā, whānau and pēpi in their first 1,000 days, supporting a healthy start to life.
Nearly half of all ākonga (48 percent) in schools receiving or eligible for the Ka Ora, Ka Ako Healthy School Lunches programme are girls. While girls directly benefit from the same overall positive impacts, nutritional lunches also improve the regularity and health of menstrual cycles, which is directly linked to nutrition. This mana-enhancing initiative reduces stress and grocery bills for whānau. The programme also supports teen parent units, providing healthy lunches to wāhine hapū, which supports their immediate health, mitigates the health risks of food insecurity, and is the earliest possible intervention for their babies.
Women have different experiences in the world of work than men, and this can put women at an economic disadvantage. Compared to men, women experience higher rates of unemployment and underemployment, often work in less secure, more precarious employment, and undertake greater caring and family responsibilities. Pacific women are a priority focus under the Pacific Employment Action Plan. Funded projects including Tupu Tai, a public sector internship programme for Pacific students which attracts a high proportion of women (60 percent to 70 percent), and the Pacific cadetship scheme, which has at least 50 percent of placements reserved for women will help address systemic workforce issues affecting Pacific women and girls.
Funding to permanently reinstate the Training Incentive Allowance will support sole parents and disabled people and their carers to enter higher education and training. Since 2021, the initiative has supported approximately 5,000 clients, of whom 90 percent have been women. The flow-on impacts for tamariki and the intergenerational benefits of parents holding educational qualifications will be particularly beneficial for sole parents, who make up 75 percent of clients and who are disproportionately women. The long-term impacts of improving women’s education, which supports entry to higher-pay employment, can reduce gender and ethnic pay gaps. The wage supplement to replace the minimum wage exemption is expected to directly improve the incomes and wellbeing of disabled women, including wāhine Māori, alleviating financial stress and aiding independence.
Gender analysis of the Industry Transformation Plans (ITP) has highlighted an opportunity to address the underrepresentation of women in male-dominated sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture and technology. The ITP Digital Technology package aims to increase women’s participation in the technology sector from 27 percent to 50 percent by 2030, through initiatives such as ‘Learn while you earn’ opportunities and supporting employers to foster attractive, supportive working environments to attract and retain a diverse workforce.
Transport agencies participated in the pilot for the first time, recognising the gender dimension of transport. As women are more likely to have lower income levels than men, work part time or casually, and have greater caring responsibilities, they are more likely to rely on public transport and use it in off-peak hours. Women, particularly Māori and Pacific women, are also less likely than men to have driver licences, affecting their independence and access to employment and training. Budget 2023 includes funding to support the delivery, connectivity, and sustainability of public transport across New Zealand and enhance women’s employment opportunities. For example, the Future of Rail initiative aims to increase the number of women working in KiwiRail’s workforce from 18 percent to 21 percent by 2025. Additional funding to maintain public transport services will ensure everyone in New Zealand has access to safe and reliable public transport, particularly the women and girls who are more reliant on these services or who make multiple trips per day.
Budget 2023 funds several initiatives aimed at supporting victims and survivors of family and sexual violence and eliminating violence, both online and offline. The gendered impacts of abuse in care for women, girls and Māori cause particular and distinct harms, including medical, emotional and physical harms. Improvements in accessing care records to make fit-for-purpose services will benefit survivors, of whom 40 percent have been identified as women by the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in State Care, and support the wider Crown response and redress. One in three women experiences intimate partner violence, and wāhine Māori are more likely to be subjected to violence than any other ethnicity or gender. Nearly three-quarters of women (73 percent) affected by family violence do not interact with formal services or go through formal channels. Investments in the Violence Help Portal (part of Te Aorerekura) will provide women experiencing violence with increased and faster access to information, advice, referrals and crisis support. Violent misogyny is a risk factor for radicalisation, and a common feature of violent extremism and terrorism. Initiatives funded under the Christchurch Call can reduce online and offline violence and violent rhetoric against women and girls, supporting women and girls to stay safe online.