Toilets Not Taxes: Gender Inequity in Dar es Salaam’s City Markets

Authors: Marius Siebert & Anna Mbise
Publisher: ICTD
Date: November 2018

Abstract:

ICTD Working Paper 89

In this paper we examine market taxation in Dar es Salaam from a gender perspective. We do not find any evidence of gender bias in the way market traders are taxed, but we do find a major gender issue that we did not expect – toilet fees. Female traders pay up to 18 times more for their daily use of the market toilets than they pay as market tax. High toilet fees have a differential and adverse impact on women, who require toilets more frequently than men, and have fewer alternatives. This shows that a focus on formal taxation systems does not reveal all complex linkages between gender and taxation in the informal sector of developing countries. A gender-aware perspective on market taxation requires us to look wholistically at gender-differentiated patterns of use and funding of collective goods and services.