Volunteer peer educators from the Centre for Positive Care practice their singing in rural Venda, Limpopo Province. PHOTO: Paul Weinberg/OxfamAUS

Gender equality

You’re more likely to be poor if you’re a woman. That’s a fact. And if you’re a woman, you’re also likely to be doing most of the work.

Discrimination and injustice are major causes of poverty worldwide, and women and girls bear the brunt of it in all aspects of their lives.

Today women:

  • Make up two-thirds of the world’s illiterate population
  • Comprise two-thirds of the exploited informal workforce
  • Own one per cent of the world’s resources and earn one-tenth of the world’s income
  • Occupy only 18% of seats in the world’s parliaments
  • 70% of the worlds poor are women
  • 80% of the worlds refugees are women and girls (UNHCR 2002)
  • For women aged 15-44 gender violence accounts for more deaths and disability than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war (WHO 2005)

Yet women are the powerhouses of developing countries: they produce most of the food, make up a third of the official labour force and care for families and homes.

Help a woman, and you’ll be helping lift whole families out of poverty.

That’s why ensuring women and men benefit equally from our work is such a vital part of what we do. All our projects – from supporting sustainable farming in Vietnam to working for peace in the Solomon Islands –are designed to ensure both women and men enjoy equal rights, opportunities and outcomes.

Find out how our work is addressing the issue of gender in order to lift both men and women out of poverty.

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Across the world, women are more likely to live in poverty. But in Bangladesh, dairy farming is creating income for women like Aklima. Together, we can help more women take control of their lives.

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