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Recent reports have shed light on the disproportionate impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on women – posing a threat to the limited gains made in gender equality over the past decades. This calls for renewed efforts in all policy areas to sustain progress and achieve the gender related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Effective domestic revenue mobilisation (DRM), as one policy area, can play a critical role in supporting these efforts and achieving the SDGs, including the gender-specific goals.
International dialogues on taxation and gender revolve around three main issues – i.e., ‘implicit and explicit biases of tax systmes’, ‘gender budgeting’, and ‘the role of women in tax administrations’. Explicit bias arises when tax policy or tax administration treats men and women differently, while implicit bias arises when the outcome of a tax policy or tax administration has a differential impact on men and women due to the gendered patterns of social arrangements, gender wage disparities, economic behaviour, etc. Gender budgeting focuses on the need to raise sufficient public funds from solvent taxpayer groups, such as multinational corporations, to improve the provision of public goods and services that are essential for women‘s empowerment. The third aspect of the tax and gender debate concerns the role of women in tax administrations and has two dimensions. It considers (i) whether the participation of women in leadership positions of tax administrations improves the performance and services of tax administrations and (ii) whether this improvement is beneficial for women.
Members of the Addis Tax Initiative (ATI) recognise the important place gender equality should hold in DRM processes. One of the ATI’s partnership principles, as emphasised in the ATI Declaration 2025, is “to promote gender-responsive action as part of all ATI partnerships and initiatives, including by collecting and evaluating appropriate data within the ATI.” Under Commitment 1 of the ATI Declaration 2025, members have committed to “enhance DRM on the basis of equitable tax policies as well as efficient, effective, and transparent revenue administrations.” This commitment also has a gender equality aspect, among other issues.
In light of this commitment, the ATI, together with the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), is co-organising a side event at the 2022 ATAF General Assembly. The event, which will take place on 31st October 2022, aims to advance policy debates on the link between taxation and gender equality. It further aims to shed light on the nature of biases in tax systems and promote the use of gender-aggregated data for informed policy making by showcasing the works of supporting organisations in this area.