The African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) is helping tax authorities across the continent #EmbraceEquity with a series of programmes designed to encourage gender-sensitive tax policies.
“Gender equality and empowerment is a priority for ATAF – both in our operations and in the organisation. This is evidenced by ATAF’s Women in Tax Network (AWITN) which continues to be a platform for change for Africa’s women working in tax,” said ATAF Deputy Executive Secretary and Head of Member Services and Domestic Resource Mobilisation Ms Mary Baine.
Recent ATAF research, Are Tax Policies developed to reduce gender inequality in ATAF Member countries, found that legislated tax regimes tend to have inherent gender biases that particularly discriminate against women.
The study, which looked at 16 African countries, found that even when tax policies were reformed to reduce explicit gender bias, they still contained implicit bias. The study also found a lack of gender-disaggregated tax administration statistics to support the quantitative gender analysis of existing and possible future tax policies. It found few numbers of women – especially at executive level – in tax administrations on the continent.
“Gender-sensitive tax policies are key because they widen the tax base, improve tax efficiency and meet the cardinal principles of taxation,” said Baine.
Gender sensitive policies also support Sustainable Development Goal Five which calls for gender equality.
“We are working with tax authorities in various African countries to develop frameworks to shape tax policies that address gender issues peculiar to Africa,” added Baine. “Effective policies help us mobilise much needed revenue to support social programmes which, in turn, ease the strain of unpaid work and increase gender-sensitive economic benefits.”
Among the organisation’s interventions to improve women’s representation in tax, is the ATAF Women in Tax Network which includes a mentorship programme to support women during the formative stages of their careers. At present 20 women – 10 mentors and 10 mentees – are participating from various African Revenue Administrations, International organisations, Civil society, Academia, and the Private sector.
The Network published a study that went into gender considerations in the development of tax policies in Member countries, as a first step towards achieving tax parity across genders.
“This International Women’s Day, with its call to #EmbraceEquity, is the ideal time to promote gender quality with tax regimes that recognise and act on specific gender needs for equity. We can use our tax policies to close the gender gap and promote equity,” said Baine.
For media queries:
Contact person: Refilwe Pitjeng – ATAF Communications Coordinator
Phone: +27 66 217 9126