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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: December 2010

4 - Corporate social responsibility and the possibility of common aims


The corporate social responsibility movement has been recognised as having particular potential for gender equality. For example, gender equality in the workplace has been integrated with the corporate social responsibility platform, specifically through the gender mainstreaming movement in EU law. There is a growing literature acknowledging the importance of tax law to influencing corporate behaviour, and the significance of this to the corporate social responsibility movement. Is there a place for gender equality in this literature; or, indeed, for the possibility of common aims? This chapter will consider the potential of assimilating the objective of gender equality in the wider economy with corporate social responsibility, through the medium of tax law.

Corporate social responsibility is a wide concept, with an interesting, and long, history. At various points in its history, the corporate social responsibility concept has embraced social performance theory, stakeholder theory, and business ethics theory. At present, corporate social responsibility embraces all of these theories, and more. Stakeholder theory, however, remains an important constant in theories of the connection between corporate activity and wider social objectives. This, perhaps, is the starting point for this chapter. Women are not stakeholders, in the traditional sense of voices heard in participatory processes, in the economy. Tax law presents a useful forum for exploring this. In particular, it is useful to consider when gender is an issue in tax law, or is problematised, and solutions are offered through tax.

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