Gender-Disaggregated Tax Data in Addressing Inequality: A Zambian Success Story

This blog was written by Ishmael Zulu, Policy Officer of Tax and Equity at Tax Justice Network Africa

Comprehensive and nuanced data are essential for understanding and tackling gender inequality. An often overlooked aspect is gender-disaggregated tax data, which can provide valuable insights into the differential impact of tax systems on men and women. This data is crucial for shaping tax policies that alleviate or exacerbate existing inequalities.

The role of revenue authorities in producing and sharing gender-disaggregated tax data is crucial. Such data enables policymakers to identify variations in tax burdens and benefits among genders, revealing underlying biases. It also helps formulate or revise tax policies to address specific gender-related gaps and foster transparency and accountability by making the data publicly available.

Moreover, gender-disaggregated tax data aids in comprehensive socio-economic planning by illustrating how fiscal policies influence different demographic groups. Zambia’s experience exemplifies the transformative power of advocating for such data, as seen in the efforts led by the Fair Tax Monitor (FTM) Report (Tax and Gender themed) in collaboration with organisations like the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS), Oxfam, and Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA).

The advocacy initiatives in Zambia drew attention to the absence of gender-disaggregated tax data and its policy implications. Through persistent engagement with the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), stakeholders emphasised the importance of incorporating gender-sensitive tax data to promote fair economic policies. This advocacy led to a significant milestone in 2022 when the ZRA, influenced by these efforts, released gender-disaggregated tax data for the first time in the Tax Statistics Bulletin.

By including this data, the ZRA showcased a commitment to transparency and responsiveness to civil society demands. The availability of gender-disaggregated tax data empowers stakeholders to advocate for more equitable tax systems by understanding the differential impacts on men and women.

In summary, the publication of gender-disaggregated tax data by revenue authorities, exemplified by the ZRA in Zambia, is pivotal for addressing and mitigating gender disparities. The success of the FTM Report’s advocacy underscores the significance of civil society engagement in driving systemic transformations. This accomplishment not only establishes a precedent for other nations but also underscores the crucial role of detailed data in shaping policies that advance gender equality and economic fairness.