SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

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Domestic taxation

in developing countries offers the largest source of funding for gender equality and the SDGs.

Bilateral donor funding

for “women’s equality organizations and institutions” amounted to less than 0.5% of ODA in 2015/16

Corporate tax avoidance

has been estimated to deprive developing countries of around $190 billion each year. 

Why SDG 17 matters for gender equality

Financing for the SDGs is rarely seen as key to gender equality, yet gender equality commitments require the mobilization of resources for public services.

Cuts to services such as health, education, social services and social protection are especially damaging for women. Research from 2017 shows, for example, that 57 million unpaid workers – most of them women— step in to fill the gaps caused by inadequate healthcare provision.

Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) cannot fill such gaps. In 2015/16 around 40% of screened ODA had some focus on gender equality, but less than 0.5% supported women’s equality organizations and institutions. More domestic resources – particularly from taxation – are essential. However, most countries – rich or poor – favour tax cuts.

Economic inequalities can be magnified by taxation. Direct taxation, for example, can be more progressive if the richest people or entities paying more. Indirect taxation on goods and services, such as value added tax (VAT) can be regressive, with the poorest paying proportionately more. Yet VAT dominates the tax base in developing countries.

Women tend to spend more of the money they control on goods subject to VAT, including food, fuel, children’s clothes and school supplies, as well as medicines. So the greater the proportion of VAT in a country’s tax mix, the greater the impact on women, unless such goods are VAT exempt.

Other fiscal policies addressed by SDG 17 – including investment in public services and trade and partnerships for technological progress – are also critical for the rights of girls and women and for greater equity overall.

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images Reportage, Equal Measures 2030
Paula Bronstein / Getty Images Reportage

Click on a box to learn about the goal’s related issues, indicators and its relevance to gender equality.

Key findings from the SDG Gender Index

  • Progressiveness of tax system:

    Indonesia leads among the six focus countries: its tax system was judged to be the most progressive among the six countries evaluated in 2015. Yet no countries fell to the bottom of the scale measuring the progressiveness of a tax system.

  • Openness of gender statistics:

    Gender statistics and sex-disaggregated data are vital for policies that advance gender equality. All six of the focus countries fell somewhere in the middle of the scale measuring the openness of national gender statistics, with Senegal slightly underperforming and Indonesia outperforming others.

Gender Equality Issues Without Sufficient Global Data

Here we highlight the ‘missing’ critical gender equality issues that we weren’t able to include in the Index due to insufficient globally comparable data. These ‘missing’ issues can help form part of an advocacy agenda calling for more and better gender data, contributing to existing calls for gaps in gender data to be filled.

Government spending on social infrastructure (including education, essential health services, early childhood education and childcare, other social care)

Tax paid and income earned data broken down by sex and by type of tax.

Inclusion of gender provisions in trade agreements.


Equal Measures 2030 Partners