The rights of women and girls around the world are being threatened by discriminatory global, regional and national tax policies. Current laws and practices enable multinational corporations and the very rich to, in many cases, get away with not paying their fair share of tax. This denies governments budgets of a key source of funding for public services, such as healthcare, education and clean water, that is critical to realising women’s rights and gender equality.
Globally, tax avoidance and tax breaks to big businesses cost developing countries hundreds of billions of US dollars every year - that could go a long way to transforming the lives of women and girls around the world.
Tax justice is vital to providing gender-responsive public services that can help reduce or respond to violence against women and girls, provide universal access to public healthcare, ensure more girls get a quality public education, and support women’s economic equality and reduce their unpaid care work.
In addition to being disproportionately harmful to women and girls, current tax policies are also generally more beneficial to men. One example of this is how income tax policies in many countries are structured in such a way that tax deductions are more accessible to men, as they are implicitly recognised as the primary breadwinners. In contrast, current tax policies do not recognise the unpaid care work that is mostly carried out by women.
Further, many countries have implemented or raised the rates of tax on consumer goods to compensate for revenues lost through cuts to tax rates for corporations and the wealthy elite. This places an unfair tax burden on women as they spend a larger portion of their income to buy basic goods.
Organisations participating in the Global Days of Action are putting forth a number of recommendations at the regional and global level, including the establishment of an inclusive intergovernmental UN Global Tax Body where all countries have a seat at the table and equal say in determining international tax rules - as opposed to the situation today where the global rules are written by an exclusive club of rich countries.
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