Gender and Tax

There is relatively little research focusing on gender and taxation in developing countries, and particularly in Africa. Our research on this theme focuses on two main areas. The first is the representation of women in African tax administrations, and the impacts of their participation on tax collection and revenue authority performance. The second investigates the differing impacts of taxation on men and women, and particularly how both formal and informal tax systems impact on the livelihoods of poorer African women.

Publications:

Hidden Inequalities: Tax Challenges of Market Women in Enugu and Kaduna States, Nigeria
by Imaobong Akpan & Kas Sempere

This paper explores how tax collection is experienced differently by female and male market traders in two Nigerian states. Based on a survey of 451 market traders in 12 markets and ethnographic research in four markets, two main findings emerged from the study – the benefits of having female tax collectors to reduce incidences of…

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Hidden Inequalities: Tax Challenges of Market Women in Enugu and Kaduna States, Nigeria
by Imaobong Akpan & Kas Sempere

This paper presents the findings of a study on gender-based taxation differences among market traders in two Nigerian states. At a high level, no significant differences were found between female and male traders in the markets visited in terms of tax payments, payments for market services and tax increases. However, a closer look at the…

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Expensive to be a Female Trader: The Reality of Taxation of Flea Market Traders in Zimbabwe
by Waziona Ligomeka

Interest is growing in taxing small-scale traders in developing countries in both the academic literature and the policy arena. This interest is due to the large and often growing portion of small-scale businesses in many developing economies, which is eroding their formal tax bases. Zimbabwe is slowly, but increasingly taxing this sector. In 2005 the…

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March 2019
Expensive To Be a Female Trader: the Reality of Taxation of Flea Market Traders in Zimbabwe
by Waziona Ligomeka

The proportion of economic activities that are categorised as informal or small-scale is unusually high in Zimbabwe. Given the depressed state of the economy over an extended period, it is logical that the government is more actively taxing small-scale business activities. Specifically, in 2005 the government introduced a presumptive tax (a tax on gross income),…

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Toilets Not Taxes: Gender Inequity in Dar es Salaam’s City Markets
by Marius Siebert & Anna Mbise

This ICTD Research in Brief is a two-page summary of ICTD Working paper 89 by Marius Siebert and Anna Mbise. Are taxation systems in Africa biased against women? This is a hard question to answer and there is very little literature on the topic. Gender biases of personal income tax systems in developed countries have been well…

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January 2019
Why African Tax Authorities Should Employ More Women: Evidence from the Uganda Revenue Authority
by Michael Mwondha, Tina Kaidu Barugahara, Mwajumah Nakku Mubiru, Sarah Wasagali Kanaabi & Milly Isingoma Nalukwago

Tax collection has historically – in Africa and elsewhere – been collected almost entirely by men, partly reflecting patterns of authority and privilege in society, and partly owing to the traditionally coercive and confrontational approaches used. The situation is changing, with women entering the profession in increasing numbers, in part because of changes in the…

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December 2018
Gender and the Formal and Informal Systems of Local Public Finance in Sierra Leone
by Vanessa van den Boogaard

This ICTD Research in Brief is a two-page summary of ICTD Working paper 87 by Vanessa van den Boogaard. This series is aimed at policy makers, tax administrators, fellow researchers and anyone else who is big on interest and short on time. In recent years, activists and policy-oriented researchers have begun to explore how tax…

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November 2018
Toilets Not Taxes: Gender Inequity in Dar es Salaam’s City Markets
by Marius Siebert & Anna Mbise

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…

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November 2018
Gender and the Formal and Informal Systems of Local Public Finance in Sierra Leone
by Vanessa van den Boogaard

This paper considers how men and women in eastern and northern Sierra Leone interact differently with formal and informal revenue collection. It argues that the literature on tax and gender equity needs to be expanded in low-income countries to pay greater attention to the ways that citizens pay for public services in practice. It shows…

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November 2018
Why African Tax Authorities Should Employ More Women: Evidence from the Uganda Revenue Authority
by Michael Mwondha, Tina Kaidu Barugahara, Mwajumah Nakku Mubiru, Sarah Wasagali Kanaabi & Milly Isingoma Nalukwago

Tax collection has historically – in Africa and in the rest of the world – been very much a male preserve. The situation is changing. Partly because of changes in the ways in which taxes are collected, women are entering the profession in increasing numbers. In Africa, they are still very much in the minority….

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Blogs:

March 2019
by Rhiannon McCluskey

About two years ago, the ICTD began a new research program on gender and taxation with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Following a workshop with our African stakeholders in Ghana, we decided to pursue two main areas of enquiry 1) the representation of women in African tax administrations, and the impacts…

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August 2018
by Kas Sempere

What does tax justice mean at the local level, and how can the experiences of informal market traders be linked with broader international campaigns? This blog draws out insights from ActionAid’s experience of incorporating the demands of market traders in Nigeria into its international tax justice campaign.

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April 2017
by Jalia Kangave

For the past twenty years, Maama Sula (let’s say) has run a small fast-food restaurant in a town called Wandegeya in Kampala, Uganda. She sources the bulk of her supplies from the women in the nearby market. Because her business is relatively well-established, she pays income taxes and Value Added Tax (VAT) to the central…

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