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Monday, April 15, 2024

Beyond Numbers: Unveiling the gender dynamics of taxation for inclusive economic growth

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By Abdulrauf Aliyu

As I reflect on the enlightening discussions and insights gained from the recent tax summit organized by the Society for Women in Taxation (SWIT) in Abuja, I am compelled to delve deeper into the gender dynamics of taxation and its profound implications for achieving inclusive economic growth. The summit served as a pivotal platform for stakeholders to converge, exchange ideas, and explore strategies aimed at fostering a more equitable and inclusive tax system. One of the key takeaways from this transformative event was the urgent need to move beyond mere numbers and statistics and shine a spotlight on the nuanced gender dimensions of taxation policies.

Historically, taxation has often been viewed through a lens that prioritizes revenue generation and economic stability. While these objectives are undoubtedly crucial, they must be complemented by a comprehensive understanding of how tax policies impact different segments of society, particularly women. The summit underscored the imperative of adopting a gender-responsive approach to taxation, one that recognizes and addresses the unique challenges faced by women in the tax ecosystem.

One of the primary issues highlighted during the summit was the pervasive gender gap in tax compliance and administration. Despite making substantial contributions to the economy, women continue to encounter barriers that hinder their full participation in the formal tax system. This disparity is multifaceted, encompassing factors such as limited access to financial resources, unequal representation in decision-making processes, and systemic biases that disadvantage women-owned businesses.

To achieve true inclusivity and harness the full potential of women as economic agents, it is imperative to dismantle these barriers and create an enabling environment that promotes gender equity in taxation. This entails implementing targeted policies that enhance women’s access to financial education, facilitate their integration into formal business networks, and promote fair and transparent tax practices.

Moreover, the summit emphasized the critical role of data and research in driving evidence-based policy interventions. Robust data collection and analysis are essential for illuminating the gender-specific impacts of taxation and guiding the development of tailored solutions. By leveraging data-driven insights, policymakers can design tax policies that not only generate revenue but also foster gender equality and empowerment.

Another pivotal aspect discussed during the summit was the importance of progressive taxation frameworks that prioritize social justice and redistribution of wealth. Women, especially those from marginalized communities, often bear a disproportionate burden of regressive tax policies that exacerbate income inequality. By embracing progressive taxation models and implementing measures such as gender-responsive budgeting, governments can mitigate these disparities and channel resources towards programs that benefit women and promote inclusive growth.

Furthermore, the summit highlighted the need for enhanced collaboration and partnership among stakeholders across sectors. Building strong alliances between government agencies, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector is essential for driving meaningful change in taxation policies and practices. Through collaborative efforts, we can foster a culture of inclusivity, diversity, and accountability within the tax ecosystem.

In addition to addressing structural barriers, the summit also emphasized the importance of promoting women’s leadership and representation in tax-related roles. Achieving gender parity in decision-making positions within tax authorities and regulatory bodies is crucial for ensuring that women’s perspectives and priorities are adequately reflected in policy formulation and implementation. Empowering women to take on leadership roles in taxation not only enhances diversity but also strengthens the effectiveness and legitimacy of tax systems.

One of the key insights gleaned from the summit was the transformative potential of technology in advancing gender-inclusive taxation. Digital innovations and data analytics can streamline tax administration processes, improve compliance mechanisms, and enhance transparency and accountability. By leveraging technology-driven solutions, governments can create more efficient and user-friendly tax systems that cater to the diverse needs of women taxpayers and businesses.
However, it is essential to approach technological advancements in taxation with a critical lens to avoid perpetuating existing gender biases and digital divides. Ensuring digital literacy and access for women, addressing cybersecurity concerns, and safeguarding data privacy are paramount considerations in harnessing the benefits of technology for inclusive economic growth.

Ultimately, the summit served as a catalyst for reimagining taxation as a powerful tool for advancing gender equality and inclusive development. By centering discussions on the gender dynamics of taxation, we can chart a course towards a more equitable and sustainable economic future. This requires a paradigm shift that transcends traditional notions of tax policy and embraces a holistic approach that values diversity, inclusivity, and social justice.
As we navigate the complexities of the post-summit landscape, it is incumbent upon all stakeholders to uphold the principles of gender equality, empower women as key drivers of economic progress, and forge partnerships that catalyze meaningful change. Together, we can move beyond numbers and unlock the transformative potential of inclusive taxation for the benefit of all.

On a final note, the summit organized by SWIT served as a beacon of hope and inspiration, igniting conversations and actions that have the power to reshape the trajectory of taxation and pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable society. Let us seize this momentum and continue our collective journey towards a future where every voice is heard, every contribution is valued, and every individual can thrive

Abdulrauf aliyu
An economist and public policy analyst
Can be reached on aliyuabdulrauf@gmail.com

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