The Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ), its members and partners concluded, on 17 March, the Global Days of Action on Tax Justice for Women’s Rights 2023. Throughout two weeks, coinciding with the 67th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), the campaign coordinated over 30 events and mobilisations across the globe, aiming to raise awareness of tax issues affecting women and girls, collectively assessing the possible ways forward to make taxes work for them.The activities ranged from webinars, seminars, photo actions, Twitter chats to marches.
As activists and advocates shared, during the activities, their perspectives and particularities of their countries’ context, it became evident that – globally and historically – tax policies have been failing in their essential role to redistribute wealth and mobilise public finance to promote social wellbeing. Having mapped common challenges in fiscal policy, the GATJ’s Tax and Gender Working Group (TGWG) – a space for members and partners of the alliance to strategise and collectively advance tax justice and gender justice agendas – started the initiative in 2016 to coordinate actions at all levels, and leverage the collective power of the feminist and tax justice movements. This year, the campaign called more specifically for the urgent adoption of wealth taxes to advance women’s rights and gender equality.
The campaign launch event firmly established the need for a collective and cross-movement push towards tax justice grounded in progressive tax policies to achieve gender equality. Echoing these sentiments, Âurea Mouzinho, global policy advocacy and campaigns coordinator at GATJ and co-chair of the TGWG, remarked that “the fight to defend women’s rights and bridge the critical gender gaps in our society, building sustainable, feminist and gender just economies is inseparable from the urgency to tax the rich.”
In Latin America, where the discussion about wealth taxes has gained the spotlight over the past years, GATJ’s regional network Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y el Caribe (RJFALC), together with Latindadd and other members, hosted online sessions focusing on four different countries – Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador –, as well as a dialogue at the regional level. Panellists reflected on the need for progressive tax reforms, and explored measures that allow public spending allocations to respond to people’s needs, including public care services.
The mobilisations in the region included a Twitter chat organised by Oxfam, building on the findings of their recent report Survival of the richest, which revealed that almost two-thirds of the new wealth accumulated since the start of the pandemic has gone to the richest 1%. As part of the programme of activities, Equidad de Género hosted a webinar that brought together tax experts to discuss progressive proposals to promote women’s rights and address the ecological emergency.
Image: panellists of the webinar organised by Fundación SES, in Argentina
In the United States, the GATJ member FACT Coalition promoted a hybrid event with the participation of Mouzinho; Crystal Simeoni, of Nawi Afrifem Macroeconomics Collective; and Amy Matsui, of the U.S. National Women’s Law Center. The panel highlighted the growing efforts in Africa to analyse and tackle the macroeconomic systems which discriminate against women,and discussed which U.S. policies can support or undermine these efforts (read more about it in this article published by Bloomberg Tax).
Going beyond the cooperation with North America, members and partners of the Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) organised several activities in the region. In Malawi, the Feminist Macroeconomics Alliance Malawi presented findings of a research on feminist analysis of the country’s tax environment and the impact on the lives of young women. The critical role of young women in the fight for tax justice was also one of the main topics discussed during the Twitter chat organised by the Young Women’s Leadership Institute, which aimed to increase visibility of the theme within civil society in Kenya.
Women and Land in Zimbabwe organised a hybrid event featuring the voices of rural women who advocate for tax justice. The Ghana Registered Nurses and Midwives Association held an in-person meeting to share the importance of domestic resource mobilisation to provide women and vulnerable communities with quality health care. The Society of Women in Taxation Nigeria promoted a dialogue about the challenges of wealth taxation in the Nigerian context, and its implications for equity and gender equality. Seatini, CRADEC and Akina Mama wa Afrika organised activities and conversations at the regional level, underlining the importance of strengthening regional cooperation.
Women in grassroots need to use their VOICE because they have the POWER to INFLUENCE all spaces. #IWD2023 #MyDearBody #TaxJusticeKe @Woman_kind @GA4TJ @awdf01 @UAFAfrica @feminist_centre Everyday is International womens day. pic.twitter.com/8Z3ddfSd9j
— YWLI (@ywli_info) March 8, 2023
In Asia, GATJ’s regional network Tax and Fiscal Justice Asia (TAFJA), together with the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) and other members, took the streets of several cities in the region in a march to call on governments and multilateral institutions to fight the climate and economic crises. In solidarity with the #8for8 campaign, an initiative of the TAFJA’s tax and gender working group to bring attention to their demands for tax and gender justice, colleagues from all around the world joined a photo action to resonate the call to make taxes work for women.
Photo credit: APMDD
📢To advance a #Feminist agenda for #GenderEquality & #WomensRights, taxing the wealthiest is no longer an option — it’s a must! #Women4WealthTaxesNow#MakeTaxesWorkForWomen #8M pic.twitter.com/4oSflXjmtR
— Eurodad (@eurodad) March 8, 2023
On 6 March, the TGWG hosted a parallel event at the UNCSW on the digital frontiers for feminist tax justice. Here, activists across movements and continents brought to light the gendered impact of taxation loopholes on human rights in the digital age. Panellists’ submissions highlighted the impacts of digitalisation on female platform workers and national revenue collection, and also explored the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)’s tax deal, whose terms further sideline Global South countries. The discussion cemented the need for a unified response to the growing impacts of digitalisation on women’s rights and taxation.
Photo credit: Gender and Development Network
Furthermore, the Financial Transparency Coalition (FTC) created space for a discussion to take stock of the regression in terms of women’s rights and gender justice during the pandemic, and to propose alternatives, highlighting the ways in which the tax justice agenda can be articulated into a broader push back against austerity and for a people-centred recovery. In this line, the TaxEd Alliance – of which GATJ is a member with ActionAid, Tax Justice Network, Education International and Global Campaign for Education – also organised a panel discussion focusing on the gendered impact of austerity policies on education.
About the GATJ’ Tax and Gender Working Group
Established in 2016, the TGWG is a space for the GATJ’s members and committed partners to engage directly in campaigns and policy work on tax and gender. It aims to strengthen the global integration of tax and gender justice movements, and has been broadening participation by working closely with women’s rights organisations, global trade unions, academics, non-governmental and civil society organisations. Currently co-chaired by GATJ, ChristianAid and Seatini Uganda, the working group co-organises with the alliance’s regional networks the annual Global Days of Action on Tax Justice for Women’s Rights.
If you are interested in collaborating with and joining the TGWG, fill in this form.