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JSAPMDD Bring Together Women during AWID Conference to Discuss Tax and Climate

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JSAPMDD organized workshops during the Association for Women's Rights and Development (AWID) International Conference on April 19-22, 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey.

On April 21, JSAPMDD conducted a workshop dubbed Tax Justice and Women: Examining Gender Inequality in the Tax System. While this workshop did not have a big audience, it drew in a range of participants from the academe, funding/campaigning groups and mass organizations who are directly involved in tax justice advocacy, research and campaigning.

Njoki Nehu of Jubilee South Africa facilitated the session and made a brief introduction on the importance of taking a closer look on the gender dimension to the tax system operating in the South. Mae Buenaventura discussed the prominent gender issues in tax systems in Asia while Claire Miranda presented a specific example of how gender issues in the Philippine tax system were challenged by the group Freedom from Debt Coalition in the 1990s. Sandra Kidwingira of Tax Justice Africa shared a number of gender issues in the African Tax System that are continuously challenged by their group Tax Justice Africa.

The participants agreed that gender dimension remains poorly reflected or integrated in current campaigns around tax laws and policies. A major recommendation was for efforts to be redoubled to ensure that the gender dimension come out more strongly and substantively. Both explicit and implicit forms of discrimination against women embedded in tax systems must be addressed (with emphasis on surfacing the latter) through greater research efforts, popular education, policy and legislative advocacy, lobbying and mobilization. It was also pointed out that in the pursuit of socially progressive and equitable alternatives, there is a need to maximize opportunities presented by the broad-based push for tax reforms in different countries that fight for adequate public funding for social services and investments in long-term development as well as struggle to change gender and discriminatory attitudes and behaviour that result in gender-blind policies ultimately disadvantageous to women.

A workshop on Climate Justice and Reparations for Climate Debt: Feminist Reflections and Grassroots Women's Experiences and Struggles was also held on April 22, 2012. This session was open to all women's groups interested to take part or currently working on the Asian Climate Justice and Reparations for Climate Debt campaign. It aimed to surface feminist perspectives on Climate Justice and the country and regional initiatives undertaken to further strengthen campaigning.

The final set of panelists was composed of Flora Santos, Manisha Subedi Pokhrel and Mae Buenaventura. Flora and Manisha shared experiences in their respective countries, Philippines and Nepal, on the gender-differentiated impacts and threats of climate change-related events. Mae further elaborated on their narratives using gender and feminist analysis.