It’s a man’s world: Study says ‘sexist’ economies fuelling inequality crisis
India’s richest 1% holds more than 4-times the wealth of 70% poorest
Eastern Mirror Desk
Dimapur, Jan. 20 (EMN): Global inequality has reached a new high due to 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.
Oxfam, which is a World Economic Forum (WEF) rights group, recently released ‘Time to care’, a study based on ‘unpaid and underpaid care work and the global inequality crisis.’ The report stated that in 2019, the world’s billionaires, only 2,153 people, had more wealth than 4.6 billion people. It said that the 22 richest men had more wealth than all the women in Africa. Moreover, the monetary value of women’s unpaid care work globally for women aged 15 and above was at least 10.8 trillion USD annually – three times the size of the world’s tech industry.
The Oxfam report further said “sexist” economies are fuelling the inequality crisis by enabling wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes at the expense of ordinary people and particularly poor women and girls.
Regarding India, Oxfam said the combined total wealth of 63 Indian billionaires was higher than the total union budget of India for the fiscal year 2018-19 which was at INR 24,42,200 crore.
India’s richest 1 per cent holds more than four-times the wealth held by 953 million people who make up for the bottom 70 per cent of the country’s population, while the total wealth of all Indian billionaires is more than the full-year budget, it said.
Women and girls were more likely to be found in poorly paid and precarious employment, it said. Just 10% of domestic workers are covered by general labour laws to the same extent as other workers, and only around half enjoy equal minimum wage protection, the report stated.
According to Oxfam’s research, women from the poorest households in low-income communities in India spend an average of 40 minutes more each day, or over a year longer during their lifetimes. Globally, 42% of women of working age, compared with 6% of men, were outside the paid labour force because of unpaid care responsibilities.
India ranks low at 76th place on global Social Mobility Index
India has been ranked very low at 76th place out of 82 countries on a new Global Social Mobility Index (GSMI) compiled by WEF.
The report, released ahead of the 50th annual meeting of the WEF, also lists India among the five countries that stand to gain the most from a better social mobility score that seeks to measure parameters necessary for creating societies where every person has the same opportunity to fulfil his potential in life irrespective of socioeconomic background.
The GSMI is designed to equip policy-makers and other leaders seeking to take informed action on a reinvigorated social mobility agenda with a useful tool to identify areas for improving social mobility and promoting equally shared opportunities in their economies and societies.
Measuring countries across five key dimensions distributed over 10 pillars health; education (access, quality and equity); technology; work (opportunities, wages, conditions); and protections and institutions (social protection and inclusive institutions) shows that fair wages, social protection and lifelong learning are the biggest drags on social mobility globally.
Denmark topped the rankings with a social mobility score of 85.2, closely followed by Finland (83.6), Norway (83.6), Sweden (83.5) and Iceland (82.7). Bangladesh, Pakistan, Cameroon, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire were the bottom five ranked countries in the index.
“Improving social mobility must be the fundamental imperative of this new decade: As long as an individual’s chances in life remain disproportionately influenced by their socioeconomic status at birth, inequalities will never be reduced,” said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, New Economy and Society, WEF.
(With inputs from PTI)