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In Pursuit of Equality, French Cities Adopt Gendered Budgets

Lyon became the largest city in France to implement a gender-sensitive budget, designed to ensure that funds are spent equally between men and women. 

Several cities in France have adopted gender-sensitive budget programs that emphasize increased spending on services and programs that get more use from women. 

Several cities in France have adopted gender-sensitive budget programs that emphasize increased spending on services and programs that get more use from women. 

Photographer: Thierry Zoccolan/AFP via Getty Images

On March 25, the French city of Lyon announced its municipal spending plans for the year ahead, unveiling a policy aimed at improving gender equality. Under the newly elected progressive mayor Grégory Doucet, France’s third-largest city adopted a “budget sensitive to gender”: Going forward, Lyon will scrutinize its 615-million-euro annual budget for signs that public investments are distributed fairly between men and women.  

Such gendered budgets have already been adopted by some smaller French municipalities, including Grenoble, Rennes, Bordeaux and Brest; the capital, Paris, is now considering joining them. But Lyon is the first French city of more than 500,000 to pursue the idea, which aims to comb through the city’s spending to address gender biases in what kinds of facilities and programs are getting funded.