Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Where are the women tax payers in Pakistan? | Blog | DAWN.COM

Nowhere else is the gender gap more pronounced in Pakistan than in the income tax rolls where more than 99 per cent tax payers are listed as males.

With almost 50 per cent of the population, women account for less than 1 per cent of all income tax payers in Pakistan. The reason for women’s absence from income tax rolls perhaps lies in the manner women are integrated in the workforce. Women’s labour force participation rate in Pakistan is rather dismal at around 14.4 per cent. Bangladesh, on the other hand, reports a three-times higher rate than Pakistan for women’s participation in the labour force. Furthermore, women in Pakistan are often employed in low paying jobs or jobs that do not compensate monetarily. However, the above arguments fail to explain why fewer than 1 per cent income tax payers are women.

It is not that Pakistan lacks affluent women. There are several empowered, influential, and wealthy women in Pakistan such as Begum Abida Hussein (who represents the landed gentry), Sharmila Farooqi (who represents the new breed of female political mavericks), and Dr. Maleeha Lodhi (who represents the intellectual elite). Could it be true that this very visible minority of enfranchised women obscure the fact that despite their prominence they belong to a very small cohort which accounts for fewer than 1 per cent of the taxpayers in Pakistan. Or it is true that women are reluctant to file income tax in Pakistan.
Where are the women tax payers in Pakistan? | Blog | DAWN.COM
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