Budget Support Through a Gender Lens: The Case of EU Development Cooperation with Botswana

  • Petra DebusscherEmail author
Original Article


How does the European Union (EU) include gender equality within its budget support? This article examines budget support as an aid instrument through a gender lens by taking on the case of EU development cooperation with Botswana. The aim is to demonstrate how budget support plays out in practice and to analyse its consequences for the EU’s global commitments on gender equality. I assess budget support with a feminist institutionalist approach combining an analysis of process and content. The article concludes that the EU cannot achieve a genuine accountability to women in the practice of its budget support resulting in a limited female ownership. While the EU aims to be a forerunner in the promotion of gender equality, this is not matched by the EU’s external services on the ground which tend to be gender-blind. In the context of a masculine state apparatus, the use of budget support becomes problematic as the voices of women and their movements are being structurally marginalised.


European Union development policy Budget support Gender equality Gender mainstreaming Botswana Global development cooperation Feminist institutionalism 


Cet article étudie l’aide budgétaire comme instrument d’aide au développement sous l’angle du genre en prenant pour exemple la coopération au développement de l’UE avec le Botswana. L’objectif est de montrer comment l’aide budgétaire se concrétise dans la pratique et d’analyser ses conséquences sur les engagements internationaux de l’UE en matière d’égalité entre les femmes et les hommes. J’évalue l’aide budgétaire en adoptant une approche institutionnaliste féministe, en alliant étude des processus et analyse de contenu. L’article conclut que l’UE n’a pas été en mesure d’atteindre une véritable redevabilité vis-à-vis des femmes dans le cadre de l’aide budgétaire, ce qui s’est traduit par une appropriation limitée par les femmes. Bien que l’UE cherche à être un précurseur dans la promotion de l’égalité des sexes, les services externes de l’UE sur le terrain ne suivent pas le mouvement et ont tendance à ne pas prendre en compte le genre. Dans le contexte d’un appareil d’État essentiellement masculin, l’utilisation de l’appui budgétaire devient problématique car les voix des femmes et leurs initiatives sont structurellement marginalisées.


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent researcher and consultantGhentBelgium

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