SDG 17: Partnerships



global average 2019 SDG Gender Index score on SDG 17

Bilateral donor funding

for “women’s equality organizations and institutions” amounted to less than 0.5% of ODA in 2015/16

Corporate tax avoidance

has been estimated to deprive developing countries of around $190 billion each year

Why SDG 17 matters for gender equality

Financing for the SDGs is rarely seen as key to gender equality. Yet, gender equality commitments require the mobilisation of resources for public services.

Cuts to services such as health, education, social services and social protection are especially damaging for women. Research from 2017 shows, for example, that 57 million unpaid workers – most of them women — step in to fill the gaps caused by inadequate healthcare provision.

Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) cannot fill such gaps. In 2015/16 around 40% of screened ODA had some focus on gender equality, but less than 0.5% supported women’s equality organisations and institutions. More domestic resources – particularly from taxation – are essential. However, most countries – rich or poor – favour tax cuts.

Economic inequalities can be magnified by taxation. Direct taxation, for example, can be more progressive if the richest people or entities paying more. Indirect taxation on goods and services, such as value added tax (VAT) can be regressive, with the poorest paying proportionately more. Yet VAT dominates the tax base in developing countries.

Women tend to spend more of the money they control on goods subject to VAT, including food, fuel, children’s clothes and school supplies, as well as medicines. So the greater the proportion of VAT in a country’s tax mix, the greater the impact on women, unless such goods are VAT exempt.

Other fiscal policies addressed by SDG 17 – including investment in public services and trade and partnerships for technological progress – are also critical for the rights of girls and women and for greater equity overall.

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images Reportage, Equal Measures 2030

Issues and Indicators

The 2019 SDG Gender Index examines gender focused issues and data under SDG 17 and provides a more complete picture of both the goal itself and its relationship to gender equality. Explore the included issues and indicators below.

Indicator 17aSocial expenditure as a % of GDP (for all types of social assistance programs)
RationaleSocial assistance (like cash transfers, social pensions, school feeding, in-kind transfers, fee waivers and public works) is important for girls and women who have particular economic and social vulnerabilities and bear a greater burden of care within families.
Indicator 17bTax revenue as a % of GDP
RationaleTax revenues are a critical measure of a government’s ability to provide basic services – including water, sanitation, energy, as well as health and education. In the developing world, adequate financing of public services is a pressing issue with special gender relevance, and taxes in developing countries account for 10-40% of GDP [20].[20] Caren Grown, “Gender Impacts of Government Revenue Collection,”
Indicator 17cExtent to which a national budget is broken down by factors such as gender, age, income, or region (score)
RationaleGender budgeting is a key measure of a government’s fiscal commitment to gender equality. Recognising that fiscal policies have gender-related implications, IMF suggests instruments known to have a positive impact on gender equality, such as tax benefits to increase the female labour supply and improved family benefits.
Indicator 17dOpenness of gender statistics (score)
RationaleGender statistics and sex-disaggregated data – for example, covering demography, education, health, access to economic opportunities, public life and decision-making, and agency – are vital for responsible policy decisions that improve the lives of girls and women. Yet data that reflect basic aspects of girls’ and women’s lives can be lacking, uncollected, or unpublished.