Statistically, you’re more likely to be living in poverty if you’re a woman. And if you’re a woman, you’re also likely to be doing most of the work. Compared to men, women have fewer resources, less power and less influence in decision-making.
Discrimination, inequality and injustice are major causes of poverty worldwide, and women and girls bear the brunt of it in all aspects of their lives.
Gender equality facts
- Girls are more likely than boys to never set foot in a classroom. Of the 758 million adults who lack basic reading and writing skills, two thirds are women. (UNESCO, 2014)
- One woman dies every two minutes during pregnancy. And for every woman who dies, 30 more are affected by injury, infection or disability during pregnancy or child birth. Most of these deaths and injuries are easily preventable (UNFPA, 2017).
- One in three women have experienced sexual or physical violence in their lifetime. In some countries, 70% of women experience this kind of violence. (WHO, 2017)
- Worldwide, women are in the lowest-paid work. Globally, they earn 32% less than men.(WEF, 2018)
Importance of gender equality
We believe that achieving gender equality means more than giving women and girls the same opportunities to learn and earn as men. It means appointing women to more leadership roles. It means ending the sexual and physical violence that permeates societies, worldwide. And it means working with men and boys to debunk beliefs and systems that oppress women. We’ve made great progress on women’s rights in many parts of the world, but the quest for gender equality is unfinished.
Gender, poverty & power
When you’re working to tackle poverty, gender matters.
When we talk about gender, we’re not talking about a person’s sex but the social relationships between men and women. These constructed gender roles directly affect a person’s ability to access and control resources. This explains why gender and poverty are so inextricably linked.
In many parts of the world, people are also marginalised on the basis of their gender identity and expression, as well as their sexual orientation or sex characteristics. We believe that sexual and gender minority communities should have the opportunity to participate more equally in the world around them. That’s why we support projects around the world that empower women and sexual and gender minority communities.
In many instances, we work in communities where harmful gender roles are deeply entrenched. Many are male-dominated communities, where women are denied their rights and disadvantaged as a result.
What we are doing
Right across the globe, we partner with local organisations and governments to implement programs and projects that promote women’s rights and gender equality. Here are just a few of the many ways we are making a difference:
- In Fiji, our ‘Shifting Power, Shifting Voice’ project supports the economic empowerment of women and people in sexual and gender minority communities.
- In Pakistan, we are empowering women to become leaders and to gain equal participation in political processes.
- In Papua New Guinea, we are striving to end violence against women and girls, including sorcery-related violence.
- In Solomon Islands, we are motivating men and boys to reject family violence and adopt healthy attitudes and behaviour toward women and girls.
- In Vanuatu, we are creating opportunities for women, people with disabilities, young people and sexual and gender minority communities to earn a living
- In Zimbabwe, we’re empowering women and girls to uphold their sexual and reproductive health rights.
We are also tackling poverty in the fashion industry. Join our campaign ‘What She Makes‘ to demand big brands pay the women who make our clothes a living wage.
HOW YOU CAN HELP.
Change a woman’s life today by making a general donation to Oxfam — helping them grow more food, educate their children, and lead healthy, productive lives.
Download our latest free guide today. By empowering yourself with knowledge, you’re also empowering women and non-binary people all around the world.
Shop our gift cards that make a difference. Help people all over the world with Oxfam Unwrapped. Buy charity or Christmas gifts and help those most in need.