Liz Nelson ■ Gender Equality: Can Taxation Make It A Reality?
Days before the annual UN Commission on the Status of Women was scheduled to meet in New York to focus on the gender equality aims promised in global agreements, goals and declarations, writes Liz Nelson, will we finally look beyond traditional thinking about how these aims can (or cannot) be funded? Are we ready to admit that progressively targeted tax is the only effective financing solution?
We’ve all done it: promised, but not delivered. And our governments are no different. But should we really be so forgiving of our elected representatives when they fail to keep their promises on issues that are fundamental to our well-being and human development?
No: for everyone’s sake, and especially this year for women during the Beijing + 25 intergovernmental review of progress towards gender equality, we should not. We must be willing to hold our governments to account when they fail to take progressive action, or when they remain politically indifferent to the need to take substantial measures to achieve gender equality. Even when governments appear to be working toward those goals, how can we make sure they are delivering on their promises? Taxation and gender impact analysis are two of the most powerful ways we can hold our politicians to account.
Platforms, plans and priorities – and very little progress
According to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), a United Nations treaty signed in 1979 that is frequently described as an “international bill of human rights for women”, by ratifying international human rights treaties such as CEDAW, states assume obligations under international human rights law – and as “duty bearers” they have an obligation to “refrain from making laws, policies, regulations, programmes, administrative procedures and international structures that directly or indirectly result in the denial of the equal enjoyment by women of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights” (CEDAW/C/GC/28).
Civil society letter supporting postponement of CSW64
An official letter advocating for a postponement of UN CSW as opposed to a scaled down version and signed by 499 civil society organisations from 92 countries was sent this week to UN Secretary General António Guterres and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
It sets out why the Commission on the Status of Women’s (CSW) annual meeting is such an important mechanism for accountability ‘to all women and girls in all their diversity around the world’ and the ‘most important annual process to review progress and challenges towards achieving women’s human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.’