The world’s wealthiest 22 men have more money than all the women in Africa - New report

  • Oxfam is a major non-profit international group focused on alleviating global poverty.
  • Its latest ‘Time to Care’ report has revealed some shocking facts about gender-based economic disparities.
  • One of them being that the combined wealth of the world’s richest 22 men is more than the fortune of all the women across the entire continent.

The world’s wealthiest 22 men have more money than all the women in Africa, according to Oxfam. Across the world, the U.K based group says men own 50% more wealth than women.

In it's new report, the group blames this worldwide economic inequality on a "flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of hours of the most essential work – the unpaid and underpaid care work done primarily by women and girls around the world."

This care work includes tending to others, cooking, cleaning, fetching water and firewood which are all essential to the wellbeing of any society.

According to Oxfam, women in rural communities and low-income countries spend about 14 hours every day on unpaid care work. This is five times more work than the men these communities do.

However, the International Labour Organization says women and girls across the world work for a combined 12.5 billion hours for free daily.

The report states that all of this free labour adds at least $10.8 trillion to the economy every year, "a figure three times larger than the tech industry," Oxfam notes.

All this unpaid care work leaves women and girls over 15 time-poor, “unable to meet their basic needs or to participate in social and political activities," and 42% of women of working age unable to hold down a job.

To fight this economic inequality in Africa and other parts of the world, Oxfam recommends investing in care-supporting infrastructure, like access to water, sanitation and electricity.

“In low-income communities in India, in households with access to electricity, girls spend half an hour less each day on care work – and 47 minutes longer sleeping," the report states.

The report notes that taxing an extra 0.5% of the wealth of the richest 1% would help create 117 million care jobs in education, health and elderly care and other sectors.

According to Oxfam, the income inequality " has to change. Governments around the world must act now to build a human economy that is feminist and values what truly matters to society, rather than fuelling an endless pursuit of profit and wealth. Investing in national care systems to address the disproportionate responsibility for care work done by women and girls and introducing progressive taxation, including taxing wealth and legislating in favour of carers, are possible and crucial first steps."

Other solutions include:

  • Invest in universal access to safe water, sanitation and domestic energy systems, as well as universal childcare, eldercare and care for people with disabilities.
  • End extreme wealth to end extreme poverty, by taxing wealth, high incomes, and cracking down on loopholes and inadequate global tax rules.
  • Legislate to protect the rights of all carers and secure living wages for paid care workers.
  • Ensure carers have influence on decision-making processes.
  • Challenge harmful norms and sexist beliefs that see care work as the responsibility of women and girls and perpetuate economic and gender inequality.
  • Value care in business policies and practices, such as crèches and childcare vouchers, flexible working hours and paid leave.

By reducing the income inequality by 1% each year, Oxfam argues that "100 million fewer people would be living in extreme poverty by 2030."

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