How can we foster more female labour market participation in Switzerland? And how can income taxation contribute to this? In order to answer these questions, Austria’s income tax system with its child allowances and deductions will be looked at closer to understand, to what extent this can be applied to Switzerland. Thereby, it will be discussed how Switzerland currently manages its income taxation of married couples and what kind of child allowances and deductions are currently in place.
The Tampon Tax
The tampon tax has become an on-going discussing topic. Support to repeal this tax has increased in the last years, with activists arguing that menstrual hygiene products should be classified as tax-exempt necessities, alongside other items such as food, tap water and medicine. This issue pertains to gender equality, affordability and women’s health. While the large majority of the countries around the world still tax menstrual hygiene products as non-essential goods, some countries are starting to lift or reduce the tax. In 2004, Kenya became a trailblazer when it was the first country in the world to repeal the tampon tax. Listen to this podcast to learn more on the topic, by discovering both sides of the argument, and understanding the implications following an amendment of the tax.
The “Heiratsstrafe” in Switzerland and it’s role in the Swiss women’s struggle for equality
In 1984, the Swiss Federal Court ruled that the marriage penalty, i.e. taxing married couples higher than unmarried ones, as unconstitutional. 37 years later, the penalty still exists, with over 700,000 couples in Switzerland affected. This has had serious implications for women’s labor market participation. While various alternatives to joint taxation are being discussed, individual taxation would not only eliminate any marriage penalties and bonuses, it would also incentivize female labor market participation most. If accompagnied by further policies such as affordable childcare and parental leave, individual taxation could play a significant role in the women’s struggle for equality.