In 2017, a whopping 82% of wealth created went to the richest 1%. The poorest half of the world are no better off. With the global gap between the rich and poor widening, women in developing countries are being hit hardest – facing poverty, exploitation, dangerous working conditions and unfair wages.
Globally, 25 million people are working in slave labour. Millions more are working long hours on low pay, just to earn enough to feed their families. It’s no coincidence that the worst paid jobs – like making garments and domestic work – are done by women and girls
To end the inequality crisis, we must build an economy for ordinary working people, not the rich and powerful.
What is causing rising inequality?
Unsurprisingly, there are a number of things driving inequality. But it boils down to economic policies and practices that favour those who hold the wealth and help them to hold and grow that wealth.
These policies and practices have often been driven by the very multinational companies and mega rich individuals who most benefit, due to the influence their wealth and power allows them to have over politics.
What can we do to rebalance our world?
The good news is that extreme inequality is not inevitable. This dangerous trend can be reversed.
Governments can act individually and together to change the rules so they work for the many, not the few.
Companies can take steps to become more transparent and fair in the way they manage and report their profits. And we can all act to demand action and hold both governments and companies to account.
- Demand big clothing brands commit to paying a living wage
- Find out how you can help make tax fair.
- Discover what’s driving inequality and access Oxfam’s inequality reports.
In 2016, annual share dividends from the parent company of fashion chain Zara to the world’s fourth – richest man, Amancio Ortega, were worth approximately €1.3bn. Stefan Persson, whose father founded H&M, is ranked 43 in the Forbes list of the richest people in the world, and received €658m in share dividends last year.
Anju works sewing clothes in Bangladesh for export. She often works 12 hours a day, until late at night. She often has to skip meals because she has not earned enough money. She earns just over $900 dollars a year.
Help tackle poverty in the clothing industry
Join thousands of Australians and demand workers be paid a living wage.