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ACCA calls for a more inclusive approach to economic recovery


08 Mar 2021


Euro & Finance
A new methodology is needed by governments says global body for professional accountants

To mark International Women’s Day, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is urging more governments to adopt the use of Gender Responsive Budgeting (GRB) to ensure that women and men benefit equally from the economic recovery out of Covid-19, and to guarantee a stop to inequality.

According to the UN’s global COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker, while 164 countries have GRB in some form, just 25 - such as India, New Zealand and Trinidad and Tobago - have demonstrated an holistic approach by applying measures that span across unpaid care, violence against women and women’s economic security.

The global body for accountants and finance professionals says that governments need to rethink their economic recovery policies. To guide them, ACCA has issued a toolkit about how accountants can place GRB into their everyday roles and responsibilities.

ACCA’s call for action follows recent research published by McKinsey, which shows that although women account for 39% of global employment, they also account for 54% of total job losses as a result of the pandemic.

Helen Brand, chief executive of ACCA says: ‘The evidence is clear – women have suffered disproportionately as a result of the pandemic and GRB can help ensure that these inequalities are considered to ensure a more inclusive recovery. To work effectively, GRB requires political commitment at the highest level, a sufficient allocation of resources and robust capacity development at all levels.’

ACCA highlights recent high-level examples of such political commitment - the COP 26 Presidency, which called for ‘developing and implementing gender-responsive climate policies’, and Canada’s 2018 law on Gender Budgeting and Indonesia’s No.9 2000 Presidential Instructions on Gender Mainstreaming which enshrine GRB in these country’s laws to help protect it from being influenced by political changes in commitment.

Helen Brand explains why using GRB is needed: ‘Pre-COVID-19 data from Standard & Poor, launched at the 2019 World Economic Forum, found that if men and women participated equally in the labour market, the US economy would be 8.7% larger, the French economy would be 17% larger and the Japanese economy would be 14% larger. So there is a strong economic impetus for GRB’s use. This is also about meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) and especially SDG 5 – achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls – by 2030.’

For GRB to work, governments need to:

  • collect and analyse sex-disaggregated data to identify where problems lie so policies can be targeted effectively
  • ensure institutional capacity – offer staff training and development, with management buy-in so that women have decision-making roles and have an equal seat at the table
  • have an ‘all-government approach’ with strong coordination between the Ministry of Finance and the relevant line ministries to ensure the process is carried out at each level
  • engage with wider public institutions, such as Supreme Audit Institutions and the Legislature, to ensure the approach has been properly scrutinised and audited.

ACCA believes that public sector finance professionals have a vital role to support governments and policymakers by providing them with the necessary data and tools to implement GRB effectively.

Helen Brand concludes: ‘GRB can be applied in all sectors of the economy and society including transport, health, education, employment and many more; so the better the coordination between government departments, the more widely the practice can be used.

‘The role of the public sector finance professional can be seen in every stage of the cycle – from initial analysis and budget design to the invaluable role of auditing in the final stage. The accountancy profession can, and should, play a key role in ensuring policymakers commit to gender equality and use GRB as a tool of effective implementation.’

- ends -

Notes to editors

What is GRB? This is a definition from the UN: ‘GRB is about assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action, including legislation, policies and programmes, in all areas and at all levels. The objective is to ensure that women and men benefit equally and that inequality is not perpetuated. Gender-responsive budgeting simply means allocating resources in response to the capacities, constraints and needs of women and men, girls and boys.’ (UN Women 2016)

ACCA’s GRB Toolkit is here:

UN's new Global COVID-19 Gender Response Tracker:

The World Bank – Gender and COVID-19:

McKinsey: COVID-19 and gender equality: Countering the regressive effects

For media enquiries, contact:

Helen Thompson


M: +44 (0)7725 498 654

Twitter @ACCANews

About ACCA: ACCA is the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. We’re a thriving global community of 227,000 members and 544,000 future members based in 176 countries and regions that upholds the highest professional and ethical values.

We believe that accountancy is a cornerstone profession of society that supports both public and private sectors. That’s why we’re committed to the development of a strong global accountancy profession and the many benefits that this brings to society and individuals.

Since 1904 being a force for public good has been embedded in our purpose. And because we’re a not-for-profit organisation, we build a sustainable global profession by re-investing our surplus to deliver member value and develop the profession for the next generation.

Through our world leading ACCA Qualification, we offer everyone everywhere the opportunity to experience a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. And using our respected research, we lead the profession by answering today’s questions and preparing us for tomorrow.

Find out more about us at




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