It’s time to put a sharp gender lens on taxation policies and practices and implement tax justice measures that will ensure greater gender equality. And it’s time we made our civil society voices heard for this demand!
By Dereje Alemayehu and Alvin Mosioma
Every year at this time, our members in the five continents carry out different activities to explain how tax justice can finance gender equality, while official delegates discuss women’s rights at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW).
This year, UN member states were to review the ambitious engagements taken towards women’s rights, in Beijing 25 years ago. It was planned to address the critical issue that not a single country has reached gender equality since Beijing. Understandably, due to public health concerns occasioned by the outbreak of the coronavirus, the much-awaited UNCSW was postponed. The whole event was shortened to a one-day ‘procedural’ meeting on March 9th.
This happened just when activists were readying to head to NYC to challenge UNCSW not to limit itself to rhetoric and lamentations when dealing with the lagging behind of each member state in progress towards gender equality and to address the elephant in the room – the financing of women’s rights!
The postponement due to coronavirus should not lead to the further shrinking of space for civil society. It is not clear how and when civil society will have another opportunity to make its voice heard on this crucial yet often neglected issue of financing.
Unless tax dodging is curtailed globally and governments implement gender-just tax policies, gender (and all social and economic) inequalities will be perpetuated. Without tax justice, the States will not be able to finance women’s rights.
Developing countries lose billions of dollars in public revenue every year through illicit financial flows, capital flight, tax evasion and tax avoidance by multinational corporations. This deprives governments of much needed resources to fund public services, social protection and infrastructure to address inequalities.
Marginalized women and those living in poverty are impacted the most by tax injustices. Regressive and discriminatory tax policies continue to have negative impacts on poor people, especially women. Besides, unpaid care and domestic work carried out by women remains unrecognized and unremunerated, although it is valued at US$ 10,8 trillion annually by the International Labour Organization.
Due to tax dodging, governments are losing a lot of resources that could finance women rights. For several years now, women’s human rights defenders and tax justice activists have been working together to advocate for tax policy reforms and practice to promote gender equality, within our Global Alliance for Tax Justice (GATJ)’s working group on ‘Tax & Gender’, a collaborative group which connects civil society members from more than 30 countries.
In our regions and countries, our members want to show their leaders that the citizens will not accept the rising inequality. This March, through the launch of the Global Alliance for Tax Justice’s ‘Make Taxes Work for Women’ campaign, our goal is to bring together the tax justice and women’s rights organisations and their constituencies to take action for tax justice to finance women’s rights.
Each of our regional networks’ members (Tax Justice Network Africa, Tax & Fiscal Justice Asia, Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y el Caribe, FACT Coalition, Canadians for Tax Fairness, and Eurodad) emphatically reiterate that business as usual is aggravating inequality. We need to change the global tax system now. This is why we urge our governments to:
- Stop illicit financial flows, tax avoidance, tax evasion and other harmful tax practices that are perpetrated and biased towards, multinational corporations and the wealthy.
- Collect tax revenues in a progressive and gender-just manner, as a sustainable way to finance the commitments to end poverty and reduce inequality.
Tax justice needs to be a reality for women and girls everywhere.
Join us in our campaign ‘‘, to discuss and address the tax issues affecting women.
Even though the UNCSW was cancelled, the discussions must go on: this is why we are organizing the webinar ‘Reviving Beijing’s Neglected Macroeconomic Agenda: Tax Justice for Women’s Rights’ this Friday, 13 March at 8:30 AM (EST time).