Press Release: Gender Inequality Costs Women in Poor Countries $9 Trillion, ActionAid Says

Friday, January 23, 2015

Gender inequality in work costs women in poor countries US$9 trillion each year – more than the combined GDPs of Britain, France and Germany – according to research released today by the international development agency ActionAid.

This huge inequality exists because women get paid less than men – known as the gender pay gap – and do not enjoy the same rates of employment – the gender employment gap.

As world leaders meet in Davos this week for the World Economic Forum and with public outrage growing at inequality in general, ActionAid’s report ‘Close the Gap!’ calls for exploitation of women’s work to take the spotlight. Closing the gaps could dramatically improve women’s lives and as well as help their wider communities, as women tend to spend increased income on food, health and education of their families.

There are two main causes of the huge inequality in the developing world:

Across the developing world, women do the most exploitative forms of work – jobs such as garment makers, roadside hawkers and domestic servants – for the lowest wages.

Women do not get the same employment opportunities as men, because they spend so much of their time caring for children, the sick and elderly, all work that is largely invisible and totally unpaid. According to the World Bank women spend up to 10 times more hours than men on unpaid care work. In poor countries women’s burden is increased by having to spend time on collecting fuel and water, and taking up the slack when governments cannot fund basic health and education services.

Source: ActionAid (link opens in a new window)