If all the unpaid care work done by women across the world was carried out by a single company, it would have an annual turnover of US $10 trillion – an amount equivalent to a turnover 43 times that of Apple, the world’s biggest company.
Let’s first put some context around this staggering figure, revealed by Oxfam last month as part of a paper that has brought into sharp focus the persistent economic divide that sees the rich continue to get richer while driving extreme poverty and global unrest.
Oxfam Australia’s of inequality in the context of our own nation found another record number of Australian billionaires, mostly men, increased their wealth to $160 billion last year – making a combined $100 million a day last year. The $36 billion spike in the total wealth of this privileged group of just 43 people in just one year is enough to fund about half the Australian Government’s total health budget this financial year. In Australia, the top one per cent continue to own more wealth than the bottom 70 per cent of all other citizens combined.
Watch: The two-letter word that connects women and girls everywhere. Post continues after video.
Across the world, inequality is out of control. In the past 10 years since the global financial crisis we’ve seen the number of billionaires nearly double worldwide, with a new billionaire created every two days between 2017 and 2018. Some 26 individuals now own about as much as the poorest half of humanity, which is about 3.8 billion people, yet wealthy individuals and corporations are paying some of the lowest rates of tax in decades.
By under taxing the wealthiest in society, governments the world over are helping to fuel an inequality crisis and depriving public coffers of vital services such as healthcare and education.
Every day, 10,000 people die because they lack access to affordable health care. In developing countries, a child from a poor family is twice as likely to die before the age of five than a child from a rich family. If multinational companies were paying their fair share of taxes around the globe, at least of some these billions could go to the crucial public services needed to address these tragic statistics.
Poor women and girls get hit hardest by this lack of investment – having to care for children, the sick and elderly when public services fail.
What the research also tells us time and again is that, disproportionately, it is women and girls propping up the same economies that fail to reward them – collectively they are spending millions of hours performing unpaid work each year.