Wellesley does a great deal of work on building equity into policy and program development. One way to do this is through equity focused planning tools such as Health Equity Impact Assessment and gender-based analysis. In a recent example from the UK, a gender-based analysis of the coalition government’s emergency budget revealed that nearly three-quarters of the burden of budget cuts fall on women, while only a quarter affect men. Now, a gender equality organization is taking legal action against the government for failing to give “due regard” to the budget’s impact on women, based on the UK’s 2006 Equality Act. The Act obligates the government to consider the impact policies and services have on women, and the Treasury’s own strategy includes a commitment to perform gender impact assessments. This is the first time the Equality Act has been challenged on such a broad scale policy as a federal budget.
The WI has given several workshops on using Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) in the health care system and helped to develop an HEIA tool for Toronto Central LHIN. As this case from the UK shows, equity impact assessment is a tool that can be used not just for planning individual programs, but also in influencing macro-level policy such as a budget.