Gender and beneficial ownership transparency

  • Publication date: 28 April 2022
  • Author: Lubumbe Van de Velde

Gendered dimensions of beneficial ownership transparency’s policy aims

There are multiple ways BOT and gender equality policy interact, both directly and indirectly. Insofar as gender equality aims to promote “equal value, recognition, and participation in all spheres of public and private life”,[20] the gendered effects of BOT are also not limited to the collection and use of sex-disaggregated BO data. This study did not identify any cases where BOT was implemented as a gender-specific policy, but did identify many instances where BOT was implemented to achieve specific policy aims that have gendered dimensions. For example, BOT has emerged as a tool for combating corruption, money laundering, and tax evasion.[21] Implementers may need to consider the body of research on the gendered dimensions of corruption, IFFs, and tax evasion as they assess the use of BOT generally for gender equality in their context.

Research conducted at global, regional, and national levels shows that corruption, tax evasion, and IFFs impact women differently than men.[22] For example, at the global level, the link between tax and gender justice is explored through IFFs resulting from the trafficking of women, enabled by financial secrecy jurisdictions and international networks that facilitate tax evasion and avoidance.

Some countries implement BOT for specific high-risk sectors, such as the extractive sector, as required by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Evidence suggests that women often bear a disproportionate share of the social, economic, and environmental risks of extractive industry projects, whilst the benefits accrue primarily to men.[23]

Tackling financial secrecy not only benefits transparency and global equality, but also has the potential to contribute to greater gender equality and the respect, protection, and fulfilment of human rights for women and girls.[24] Provided that BOT is implemented in a way that effectively helps to prevent corruption, IFFs, and tax evasion, there will also be a gendered dimension to its impact.


[20] “Plan for Gender Equality 2021”, Sonae.

[21] “What is beneficial ownership transparency?”, Open Ownership, n.d.,

[22] Nicole Bidegain Ponte, Veronica Grondona, and Corina Rodríguez Enriquez, “Illicit Financial Flows Undermining Gender Justice”, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, December 2016,; Lauren Anikis, “Illicit Financial Flows in Uganda”,​​ Global Financial Integrity, 24 February 2021,; Stephanie Muchai and Crystal Simeoni, “SDG 5: Women, macroeconomic policies and the SDGs”, Spotlight on Sustainable Development, 2018,

[23] “Gender in Extractive Industries”, The World Bank, 21 November 2013,

[24] Bidegain Ponte, Grondona, and Rodríguez Enriquez, “Illicit Financial Flows Undermining Gender Justice”.

Next page: Using sex-disaggregated data to understand women’s position in society