THE African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) has launched a Women in Tax Network, an initiative aimed at increasing the role of women in taxation and their contribution to national economies in the region.
The establishment of the network is significant as Africa works towards meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, as part of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development with gender equality as a goal enshrined in SDG number five.
Taxation and gender equality have strategic importance to developing countries in general, and Africa in particular.
Both tax and gender equality occupy prime position in the development agendas of nations, hence the need to ensure equal opportunities for both male and female.
“Mainstreaming gender equality is essential in the development and review of tax policies and administration, as the former supports an improved livelihood, while the latter fosters technical competence,” said ATAF in an outcome statement following the virtual launch of the new network on Tuesday.
“Tax policies affect men and women differently and the impact of tax on the different genders has not been fully examined, particularly with regards to the African continent, and focused research in this regard is urgently required.
“The potential and existing links between tax policy and gender equality have largely been ignored in development cooperation.”
The thrust towards gender equality is clearly highlighted in the African Union’s Agenda 2063 Goal 17 where aspiration six is for “an Africa whose development is people driven, relying on the potential offered by African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children”.
ATAF in collaboration with the African Development Bank (AfDB), organised the event, which attracted over 500 participants from revenue administrations and treasury executives frim the continent, policy experts, among other key stakeholders.
In order to promote sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction, participants said policy interventions in the area of taxation should not negatively affect the outcomes of gender equality.
“The ATAF Women in Tax Network is an opportunity to reflect on the road ahead, what remains to be done in pursuit of gender equality and strategise on harnessing the collective energy of African women in tax related fields by targeting to boost their technical skills and to address gender equality in taxation on our ccontinent,” said ATAF.
The meeting took note of the complexities surrounding gender balance in revenue administrations. The participants deliberated on the relatively high percentage of females in the overall staff complement of tax administrations vis a vis the small number in senior management positions or core technical areas. They concluded that countries need to consider ways to improve their attempts to achieve greater gender equality.
The virtual forum also discussed how African governments can ensure that tax policies and fiscal administrations are gender-sensitive, gender-responsive or gender-transformative by bringing in desired shifts in roles.