Today just 8 men have the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity. In Canada, 2 billionaires own as much wealth as the poorest 30% of Canadians. This is a result of rising economic inequality around the world over the last three decades. The failure of governments to tackle this growing crisis is undermining economic progress and, crucially, the fight against poverty. Since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1% of the total increase in global wealth while the top 1% has pocketed 50%.3 Growing inequality is bad for us all, yet the consequences for the world’s poorest people, and in particular women, are particularly severe.
All over the world, women earn less than men. Sexism affects the jobs women have access to, the money they earn, and the way society values their work. Women experience barriers when attempting to exercise their right to health and education, and often experience backlash when they raise their voices, organize, and seek to access the highest realms of power and decision making. Too often governments make policy and spending decisions without duly considering what the outcomes will mean for women and how they will impact the gender gap in resources and opportunities.
And yet the global inequality crisis is not inevitable. Governments can take action to reverse the trend to create an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy elite, and where women and men are treated equally. Inspired by its commitment to transforming the lives of women and girls, Oxfam Canada has decided to track the Liberal government’s actions to deliver on its feminist agenda. We will publish an annual Feminist Scorecard to assess the steps this government has taken to make meaningful progress towards achieving women’s rights and gender equality, both at home and abroad. Oxfam Canada’s Feminist Scorecard 2017 is the first in this series.
-reprinted from Oxfam Canada