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Women and Activists around Asia taking action calling for Tax Justice for Women’s Rights

THE #8for8 initiative for tax justice was recently launched in Hanoi, Vietnam, during an international workshop that gathered activists from various parts of Asia and Europe to discuss taxes and women’s rights.

“Eight for Eight: Take Up the Challenge for Women’s Rights” or #8for8 is a mobilization led by Tax and Fiscal Justice Asia (TAFJA) calling for attention and actions across the world to realize tax justice for women’s rights.

The mobilization has started last August 8 and will build up to International Women’s Day on March 8. It seeks to mobilize at least 8,800 posts and reposts about tax justice on social media pages of campaign members and supporters.

The #8for8 campaign also aims to engage women and bring public attention to tax issues, women’s rights and the need for reforms to deliver governments’ long pending promises. The campaign involves women and tax justice advocates, posting selfies every 8th day of the month for 8 months with different messages for each month.

Lidy Nacpil, Coordinator of the Asia Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), which is member of TAFJA, underscored the need for increased awareness on tax justice issues and advocacy.

“Visibility of tax justice advocates and networks in social media platforms is important as we collectively advance our tax justice agenda and build greater support for our calls. Women’s voices in particular must be heard as they bear the brunt of unjust and discriminatory tax policies.”

Fyfe Strachan of the Action Aid International Global Advisor on Sustainable Development Goals, joined the campaign with: “Today is Day 1 of the #8for8campaign for tax justice. I’m in great company with some fired up tax campaigners from around Asia. On any given day you will find them investigating tax avoidance, campaigning for tax regimes that don’t punish the poor and holding their leaders to account. But today we selfie.”

On the #8for8 launch, CJ Galunan of the Philippines captioned: “In the time of Duterte, tax is more than just a matter of reform but a matter of [in]justice.”

Referring to the Philippines’ new tax law, Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN), widely criticized for having triggered inflation anew, CJ posted, “There is no acceleration without human rights; no inclusion without accountability. Although#TheBurdenIsBiased, we women will fight.”

The issue of tax justice is not just about the negative impacts of tax policies on women and on the poor; it is also about how potential revenues that could be spent for badly needed public services are lost to corruption, tax abuse and tax evasion by corporations. Tax justice is also about recognizing the unpaid care work largely borne by women as vital contribution to the economy and ensuring it is duly accounted for in tax and fiscal policies.

Anjan Bordoli of India, for her part, posted: “We have never asked the government on our tax collection spending. We have also noticed there is not much improvement in public services. The big question is ‘Where does unpaid care work stand in our country where millions of women have laid down their lives in contributing to GDP in kinds over the years?’.”

“They deserve to know about tax justice as much as corporates do. I am in support of tax justice for gender rights, do you?”

Meanwhile, Herni Ramdlaningrum of Indonesia, shed light on particular tax justice issues in her post: “#8for8 #TaxJustice #WomensRights. Starting from today, every month on 8, for 8 months or until women’s international day on 8 March 2019, I will post a status with a hashtag #8for8. This hashtag is part of women’s movement all over the world as a joint commitment to campaign and promote tax justice for women. Tax justice for women is a principle where allocation of expenditure from the tax revenue must consider women’s rights and interest. Despite tax being commonly seen as a payment obligation made by companies or individuals as formal workers, women have been actually significantly contributing to the tax revenue. In fact, even women who mostly work as unpaid workers have been contributing to the tax revenue. How come? Because all the goods and product purchased by women to be consumed by family are highly taxed in a form of GST. Therefore, I’d like to call you my friends, women all over the world to promote this hashtag.”

So far, there have been over 200 posts and reposts of our messages by women across Asia as initial launching.

We need your help to spread the word and ignite further actions. TAFJA invites women and men across Asia to join the #8for8 campaign by following TAFJA on facebook (www.facebook.com/AsiaTaxJustice/) and posting your selfie on the 8th of every month with the hashtags #8for8, #taxjustice and #womensrights.

 

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