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Global Inequality Crisis Report: Oxfam International

  • 21 Jan 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The report, titled Time to Care: Unpaid and Underpaid Care Work and the Global Inequality Crisis has been released by Oxfam International ahead of the 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

  • The report focuses on the alleviation of global poverty.
  • It also states that economic inequality is out of control and has created a great divide in the world.
  • This great divide is based on a flawed and sexist economic system which has accumulated vast wealth and power into the hands of a rich few. And they are also exploiting the labour of women and girls, and systematically violating their rights.

Key Points

  • Number of Billionaires: The world had 2,153 billionaires in 2019.
    • The number of billionaires has doubled in the last decade, despite their combined wealth having declined in 2018.
  • Concentration of Wealth: The world’s richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people.
  • Unpaid Care Work: The monetary value of unpaid care work globally for women aged 15 and over is at least $10.8 trillion annually –three times the size of the world’s tech industry.
    • Unpaid care work is the ‘hidden engine’ that keeps the wheels of our economies, businesses and societies moving.
  • Average Wages: From 2011 to 2017, average wages in G7 countries grew 3%, while dividends to wealthy shareholders increased by 31%.
  • Taxation: An additional 0.5% tax on the wealth of the richest 1% over the next 10 years can create 117 million jobs in education, health and elderly care.
  • Gender Inequality and Distribution of Wealth: Globally, extreme poverty rates are 4% higher for women than men and this gap rises to 22% during women’s peak productive and reproductive ages.
    • The minimum annual monetary value of the unpaid care work by women aged 15 and above globally is three times the size of the world’s tech industry.
    • Globally, 42% of working-age women are outside the paid labour force, compared with 6% of men, due to unpaid care responsibilities.
    • 80% of domestic workers worldwide are women and 90% of domestic workers have no access to social security such as maternity protection and benefits.

Key Points Related to India

  • India’s richest 1% hold more than four-times the wealth held by the bottom 70% of the country’s population.
  • The combined total wealth of 63 Indian billionaires is higher than the total Union Budget of India for the fiscal year 2018-19 which was at Rs 24,42,200 crore.

Recommendations

  • Invest in national care systems to address the disproportionate responsibility for care work done by women and girls.
  • End extreme wealth to end extreme poverty.
  • Legislate to protect the rights of all carers and secure living wages for paid care workers.
  • Challenge harmful norms and sexist beliefs.

Oxfam International

  • Oxfam International is a group of independent non-governmental organisations formed in 1995.
  • The name “Oxfam” comes from the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, founded in Britain in 1942.
    • The group campaigned for food supplies to starving women and children in enemy-occupied Greece during the Second World War.
  • It aims to maximize efficiency and achieve greater impact to reduce global poverty and injustice.
  • The Oxfam International Secretariat is based in Nairobi, Kenya. The Secretariat runs offices in Addis Ababa, Oxford, Brussels, Geneva, New York, Moscow and Washington DC.

Source: IE

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