The world’s richest 2,153 people controlled more money than the poorest 4.6 billion combined in 2019, while unpaid or underpaid work by women and girls adds three times more to the global economy each year than the technology industry, Oxfam said on Monday.
The Nairobi-headquartered charity said in a report released ahead of the annual World Economic Forum of political and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, that women around the world work 12.5 billion hours combined each day without pay or recognition.
In its “Time to Care” report, Oxfam said it estimated that unpaid care work by women added at least $10.8 trillion a year in value to the world economy – three times more than the tech industry.
To highlight the level of inequality in the global economy, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Oxfam India Amitabh Behar compared the world’s billionaires to the case of a woman called Buchu Devi in India who spends 16 to 17 hours a day doing work like fetching water after trekking 3km, cooking, preparing her children for school and working in a poorly paid job.
He said that to remedy this, governments should make sure above all that the rich pay their taxes, which should then be used to pay for amenities such as clean water, healthcare and better quality schools.
(Production: Jackson Njehia, Okwi Okoh)