UNDP’s Gender Team and Tax for SDGs Initiative of the Sustainable Finance Hub have joined forces to extend the implementation of the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions to Ministries of Finance and tax administrations. This collaboration is a key endeavor in broader efforts to promote gender responsive fiscal policy and administrative reforms in partner countries around the world in line with UNDP’s Strategic Plan and Gender Equality Strategy 2022-2025. The Strategy further outlines UNDP´s ambition to mobilize upwards of $100 billion towards gender equality including through public sources where fiscal policies and taxation are important contributors.
Fiscal policies can and should play a prominent role in advancing gender equality which is also a necessary condition to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This calls for gender-responsive tax and expenditure policies designed to transform existing economic structures and systems that perpetuate inequality. Such a transformation is only possible if the key public institutions responsible for fiscal governance, notably a country’s Ministry of Finance and tax administration, fully embrace gender equality as a fundamental principle and objective across all institutional functions.
EQUANOMICS – Fiscal policies that work for gender equality
Building on this vision, the Gender Team and Sustainable Finance Hub recently launched the EQUANOMICS initiative, a global endeavor to make fiscal policies work for gender equality and to mobilize financing for SDG 5 through public finance and fiscal governance. With generous support made possible through the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (GEWE) Funding Window from the Republic of Korea and Luxembourg, eight countries have already been selected for support in advancing the gender-responsiveness of their tax systems under the EQUANOMICS initiative. This includes an output dedicated to implementing the Gender Equality Seal in Ministries of Finance and tax administrations. These eight countries are Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Mongolia and Costa Rica.
The Seal supports the fiscal policy reform process
While most policymakers understand the benefits of more inclusive and gender-responsive fiscal management, many struggle to create the momentum or right platform to initiate such policy reflections, let alone to design a suitable institutional process to follow in the pursuit of more gender-equal institutional outcomes and policies.
The new stream of the Gender Equality Seal targeting Ministries of Finance and tax administrations is specifically designed to tackle this challenge. The Seal works across five interconnected areas of institutional performance to advance gender equality, namely (i) planning and management, (ii) gender equality architecture and capacities, (iii) enabling work environment, (iv) participation, partnerships and accountability, and (v) results and impacts of public policies.
Participating institutions are provided with a process blueprint and get access to a wide and comprehensive set of implementation tools, working aids and other resources that have been adapted to the taxonomy and institutional mandates of fiscal policy institutions.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance in Panama is already implementing the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions and dozens of Ministries of Finance and tax administrations around the world have expressed interest in the joining the global community of practice of public institutions that are committed to advancing gender equality through implementing the Seal.
Recognizing the strong catalytic effects of fiscal policy and administration throughout the economy and public sector, UNDP’s ambition is to see over 100 Ministries of Finance and tax administrations implement the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions Seal by 2027.
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