Financing for the SDGs is rarely seen as key to gender equality. Yet, gender equality commitments require the mobilisation 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 organisations 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.
The 2019 SDG Gender Index examines gender focused issues and data under SDG 17 and provides a more complete picture of both the goal itself and its relationship to gender equality. Explore the included issues and indicators below.
Below is an overview of other important gender equality issues related to this SDG that are not currently reflected in the 2019 SDG Gender Index due to data gaps.
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“Young women should get involved in female empowerment and in projects that supports other women because the future needs women to stay together.”
Just 7% of advocates prioritised tax and public finance as a priority gender equality issue for which progress needs to be made in their country.
As of May 2018, women held around 23% of parliamentary seats globally.
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