January 21: The world’s 2,153 billionaires have more wealth than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60 percent of the planet’s population, Oxfam said in a report unveiled on Monday (January 20) ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
According to Oxfam, global inequality is shockingly entrenched and vast and the number of billionaires has doubled in the last decade.
Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar, who is in Davos to represent the Oxfam confederation this year said, “The gap between rich and poor can't be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies, and too few governments are committed to these.”
Oxfam’s report, ‘Time to Care’, shows how the sexist economies are fuelling the inequality crisis enabling a wealthy elite to accumulate vast fortunes at the expense of ordinary people and particularly poor women and girls.
Oxfam said in a press statement that getting the richest one percent to pay just 0.5 percent extra tax on their wealth over the next 10 years would equal the investment needed to create 117 million jobs in sectors such as elderly and childcare, education and health.
“Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of ordinary men and women. No wonder people are starting to question whether billionaires should even exist,” Behar said.
Beher further said that women and girls are among those who benefit least from today’s economic system.
According to him, they spend billions of hours cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the elderly.
“Unpaid care work is the ‘hidden engine’ that keeps the wheels of our economies, businesses and societies moving. It is driven by women who often have little time to get an education, earn a decent living or have a say in how our societies are run, and who are therefore trapped at the bottom of the economy,” added Behar.
The report further states that women do more than three-quarters of all unpaid care work. They often have to work reduced hours or drop out of the workforce because of their care workload.
Across the globe, 42 percent of women of working age cannot get jobs because they are responsible for all the caregiving, compared to just six percent of men.
The pressure on carers, both unpaid and paid, is set to grow in the coming decade as the global population grows and age. An estimated 2.3 billion people will be in need of care by 2030 —an increase of 200 million since 2015, the report further states.
The report shows governments are massively under-taxing the wealthiest individuals and corporations and failing to collect revenues that could help lift the responsibility of care from women and tackle poverty and inequality.
“Governments created the inequality crisis —they must act now to end it,” said Behar.