K4D Helpdesk Report 817

There is a limited, but growing body of literature on the gender effects of taxation. Most of the studies are from the global north and relate to details of direct personal income tax policies and indirect taxes with a small but growing body of work focused in the Global South, primarily exploring indirect, small, and informal taxes. The findings suggest that explicit biases against women continue to exist in some countries around personal income taxes, but is of less concern to a majority of women in the global south mainly because few women work in the formal sector and are subject to personal income tax. Policies are one part of the gender picture, their implementation and enforcement another. Here women are more likely than men to be at a disadvantage as they are less economically literate, less aware of the law and their liabilities, and more vulnerable to being targets of harassment. Governments can seek not only to remove implicit biases against women, but use tax policies to enhance the status of women in the economic sphere by incentivising labour force participation, land asset ownership and the growth of women-owned businesses. Simultaneously, governments should use tax policies to reduce the biases against women by not raising revenue through user fees, and properly resourcing public services.


Anuradha Joshi

Anuradha Joshi is a social scientist with a PhD in Public Policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA with extensive experience in policy processes and institutional analysis. She is also a Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). Her research interests lie in state-society relationships around the delivery of public services and accountability.

Jalia Kangave

Jalia Kangave holds a PhD in Law from the University of British Columbia, and has over decade of experience in the fields of taxation, law, and international development. She previously served as the Principal of the East African School of Taxation in Uganda, worked as a tax consultant for PricewaterhouseCoopers Uganda, and was a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies. Dr Kangave is the lead consultant for the International Centre for Tax and Development’s research programme on gender and taxation.

Vanessa van den Boogaard

Vanessa van den Boogaard is a Research Fellow at the ICTD and a Senior Research Associate at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. She completed her PhD thesis on informal revenue generation and statebuilding in Sierra Leone, and has ongoing research on the topic in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia. Vanessa leads the ICTD’s new programme on civil society engagement in tax reform and co-leads the research programme on informal taxation.
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