South Africa and Zambia exchanging experiences on Gender Equality and Diversity

12 July 2022

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) and Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) met on the 8th of July, for a peer to peer learning exchange to share experiences on the work of the respective administrations in promoting gender equality and diversity (GED). The engagement was organized under the framework of the Accelerate Trade Facilitation Programme, funded by the United Kingdom, as a follow up to the GED organizational assessments that were carried out with SARS in 2020 and with the ZRA in 2021. The exchange provided an opportunity for the administrations to learn from each other and leverage each other’s unique experiences, in line with the commitments of the WCO Declaration for GED in Customs, in which Members are encouraged to share experiences with each other and the global Customs community.

In particular, the ZRA shared its experiences on the establishment of the Women in Leadership Development Forum, an initiative that was launched in March 2020 to develop capacities of women in senior leadership roles, by providing support, mentorship, education and training. The Forum is also responsible for promoting gender equality and inclusion in general within the administration. In addition, the Forum has organized two targeted events in 2021 for women entrepreneurs to better understand the opportunities and challenges women in business face with regard to tax matters and explore ways to address and strengthen women’s economic empowerment.

SARS shared information on its Women in Leadership Programme and Junior Board and Junior Council which are integral parts of the organization’s Leadership model. SARS also shared information on their work to promote GED in general including its work on gender mainstreaming, its wellness office and work with persons with disabilities. One area where SARS has put particular efforts is to prevent gender based violence. To raise awareness on this topic the administration has issued a pledge to make the organization a gender based violence free zone and established a Men’s Forum to provide a space for men to discuss positive masculinities and how cultures and biases can influence work. SARS also shared information on community outreach initiatives and targeted tax payers’ initiatives.

The WCO looks forward to continue its collaboration with SARS and the ZRA on the topic of GED, and to host similar exchanges in the future to promote knowledge sharing as a way to drive this agenda forward.

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