Gender equality and a rights-based approach to tax reform [chapter]

Helen Hodgson, Kerrie Sadiq
2017 Tax, Social Policy and Gender: Rethinking equality and efficiency  
Gender bias in economic reform is a global issue. UN Women, the United Nations entity responsible for promoting women's empowerment and gender equality, advocates a rights-based macroeconomic agenda that will ensure that human rights, including the right to education and dignified employment are protected, and drive the process of macroeconomic reform. This extends beyond developing countries. Following the GFC, austerity regimes introduced by developed economies and closely linked to tax
more » ... linked to tax regimes have impacted on the economic security of women. At the same time, Australia is embarking on another round of tax reform. The reform discussion paper has been framed as "Lower, Simpler, Fairer", and argues that Australia's continued economic growth and international competitiveness depends on tax reform. The purpose of this paper is to establish the need for a framework for macroeconomic policy and, in particular fiscal policy, which incorporates human rights principles which address gender inequality. We propose this framework based on the human rights treaties to which Australia is a signatory. Once this framework for tax policy is established, we apply the framework to the Australian tax system. We examine the most common taxes (personal income tax, GST, taxes on capital, property taxes and taxes on retirement savings) to determine the extent of any inherent tax bias, then apply a human rights gendered lens to examine a range of tax reform proposals currently under consideration in Australia. In particular, we consider the impact that any reforms may have on the economic and social rights of women. Finally, relying on this analysis we draw conclusions as to the human rights implications in respect of five contentious areas for possible reform. 2
doi:10.22459/tspg.11.2017.04 fatcat:mhh7emtzdzevfm3strwi52kfpi