2018 marked the first year gender equality was featured as part of the main Financing for Development (FFD) Forum programme. An expert session, convened on 26 April, brought together three leading experts to review trends in financing for gender equality and explore options to increase fiscal space at the national and local level.
Professor Kathleen Lahey, Queens University (Canada) presented critical analysis on the gender impacts of taxation and key policy actions that can transform tax systems to deliver for women and girls. For example, she noted that if all regressive tax rules which disincentivize women's paid work were repealed in one country, women's average incomes would increase by over $3500 per year.
Ms. Yolanda Martinez Lopez, Secretary of Social and Human Development of the State of Oaxaca, Mexico, shared actions by her State to increase strategic investment in women's empowerment. She indicated the State of Oaxaca is highly committed to achieving gender equality - as seen in their legislation and policies - and presented practical examples of the investments in financial inclusion, delivery of healthcare to rural communities and training of women and men to encourage formal labour force participation.
Dr. Shahra Razavi, Chief of Research and Data at UN Women, drew upon the recent Flagship Report "Turning Promises into Action" to demonstrate the pervasive gender inequalities in every dimension of sustainable development. She noted that a fairer distribution of available resources would enable the achievement of equality and inclusive, sustainable growth. Dr. Razavi presented a clear argument that we can in fact afford the Sustainable Development Goals and stated it is a matter of political will and of using all the available policy tools. She closed by saying "the cost of inaction is simply too high."