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6 galling statistics about wealth inequality that show how women are paying the price

Women pay the price for men’s global wealth.

6 galling statistics about wealth inequality that show how women are paying the price
[Photo: Ryoji Iwate/Unsplash]

Tomorrow is the first day of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, which means it’s showtime for Oxfam International’s annual report on income inequality. This year’s theme is women.

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Most global wealth disparities are related to gender inequities: Women own half the wealth of men, which is largely due to unpaid care work, the “hidden engine that keeps the wheels of our economies, businesses, and societies moving,” says Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India. You only need to know six galling facts:

  • Women do over three-quarters of all unpaid care work, logging 12.5 billion hours per day, contributing $10.8 trillion to the economy each year—or three times the world’s tech industry.
  • The world’s 22 richest men are worth more than all the women in Africa.
  • Globally, 42% of women are outside the paid labor force because of unpaid care responsibilities, compared with 6% of men.
  • Nearly half the world subsists on $5.50/day or less, which the report says is partially because income “accrues to those at the top,” mostly benefiting men, leaving those at the bottom further behind.
  • On average globally, 18% of government ministers and 24% of parliamentarians are women, meaning women are often excluded from decision making. Caregivers, in particular, have minimal voice.
  • The world’s richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people.

It’s gonna get worse: Another 200 million more children and older people needing care will appear this decade, causing a caregiving spike.

The report calls on governments to invest in national care systems, which will alleviate the unpaid workloads of women and girls.

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