Gender Equality and Taxation – International Perspectives

15 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2020

See all articles by Åsa Gunnarsson

Åsa Gunnarsson

Umeå University - Department of Law

Date Written: September 8, 2020


Several strands in the international development of taxation during the last decades have contributed to structural problems that act as a hinder and even counteract the basis for gender equality. A general problem is that tax equity has become equivalent to what is good for economic growth. When social justice no longer plays a part in tax policy concern, the welfare state erodes. The income gap becomes extremely large, poverty increases, and the rich don’t pay their fair share of the tax burden. As women relative to men in most intersections of society have a subordinated socio-economic position, the outcome of this tax policy is not beneficial for women. This outcome stands out as deeply contradictory to the layers of legal obligations and policies, on both a national and international level, aiming to promote gender equality. The aim of this paper is to expose how tax laws can consolidate and even strengthen economic inequalities between men and women. I will discuss the deeply rooted culture of supporting the bread-winner family model by extensive tax expenditures, and why these type of regulations serves as disincentives to women’s labour market supply and the gendered inequality in the distribution of paid and unpaid work. Another topic is to explain why the world-wide loss of redistributive power in national tax systems is fuelling gender inequalities. The relation between gender equality and the taxation of capital income will be given some extra attention, with the purpose to make an argument that sustainable tax bases is very much a women’s issue.

Keywords: Gender equality, Inequality, Tax policy, Comparative

JEL Classification: K34, H20, H71

Suggested Citation

Gunnarsson, Åsa, Gender Equality and Taxation – International Perspectives (September 8, 2020). Copenhagen Business School, CBS LAW Research Paper No. 20-29, Available at SSRN:

Åsa Gunnarsson (Contact Author)

Umeå University - Department of Law

Umeå Universitet, Juridiska institutionen
Umeå, 901 87

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