Gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) has been introduced in over 80 countries to mitigate gender inequities. We evaluate if these reforms can influence policy making and enhance gender-oriented accountability. Our analysis follows the process-tracing methodology and includes over 20 in-depth interviews. Our findings show significant public administration obstacles to GRB, but success is possible in institutions with proper leadership, human, and technological resources. This study advances our understanding of the operational limits of GRB, highlights areas for future research on equity-oriented reforms, and sheds light on issues that practitioners need to account for as they strive to further gender equity.