Policy Brief 5

The subject of gender and taxation has gained increasing traction in policy circles. Most existing evidence is based on the implicit and explicit bias framework developed in the mid-1990s. This framework has been useful in promoting research in this area, and tax reform to address gender biases. However, as explicit biases become increasingly rare, we argue that the framework is no longer fit for guiding policy towards improved tax equity and gender equality. Most importantly, the ‘tax-bias’ framing creates the impression that the solution to rectifying the underlying problem lies in reforming the tax system. We propose an alternative approach that starts with a clear focus on the policy goal of gender equality, from the perspective of a broader feminist fiscal policy agenda. It also backs a progressive tax policy and administrative reform agenda that generates sufficient revenue to fund policies for gender equality, while also pursuing tax equity.


Caren Grown

Caren Grown is a Senior Fellow in the Center for Sustainable Development, Global Economy and Development Program at the Brookings Institution. From 2014-2021, she served as global director for gender at the World Bank Group and as senior technical advisor in the Macroeconomics, Trade, and Investment Global Practice until 2022.

Giulia Mascagni

Giulia Mascagni is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies and Research Director of the ICTD. Her main area of work is taxation, but she also has research interest in public finance, evaluation of public policy, and aid effectiveness. She is an economist by training, holding a PhD in Economics from the University of Sussex. Her main geographical interest lies in African countries, with a particular focus on Ethiopia and Rwanda.