The Long Road to Equality
This week's topic is inequality from two main dimensions of employment and gender. Inequality in all its manifestations cuts across all countries of the globe, whether they fall into the category of high-income, middle-income, low-income. Economic inequality is the unequal distribution of wealth between the rich and the poor. Inequality from a gender perspective is the disproportionate rate of women and girls shouldering domestic and caretaking roles in addition to working full-time or part-time than their male counterparts.
I came across countless statistics of the pervasiveness of inequality in our society. The results were mind-boggling and unsettling to me. According to the Oxfam article entitled "Time to Care: Unpaid and underpaid care work and the global inequality crisis," a total of 2,153 people possess the world's wealth of about 4 billion people in the world as a whole. Furthermore, 22 of the world's richest men have a massive wealth accumulation than all women who live on the African continent put together. A third alarming statistic I read was only 1% of the world's wealthiest people own double the amount of wealth of the 7 billion people populating our globe. These statistics alone opened my eyes to the stark reality that the wealthy are unduly earning an increasing amount of money that does not benefit or directly reach the rest of the general population; it is unfair, shameful, and unacceptable on so many levels!
Various factors play an attributing role in propelling this phenomenon. Urbanization is one precipitating catalyst causing inequality in nearly every country all over the world. A second driving force pushing inequality is sexism. Women and girls assume caretaking jobs and underpaid positions that consist of looking after children, elderly parents or providing care to individuals with physical and mental disabilities. Society, namely men, have a propensity to undermine the value of this kind of work. Most men continue to hold the antiquated belief that domestic care and childrearing are a "woman's job." I can't entirely agree with this belief; parenting and household care is an equal responsibility for both parties. My thing is, if men voluntarily chose to produce children, then there should be no excuse for them not to be involved in raising them unless any dire circumstances hinder them from carrying out their parental duties.
A second phenomenon I have witnessed that enormously bothers me is that men think spending time with their children is considered "babysitting," Therefore, they do not contribute much to being involved in their lives. I can draw on personal experience with this issue; my father and brother-in-law continue to hold this patriarchal and sexist belief. Although I love both men dearly, I cannot deny the fact that their belief system regarding the importance of childrearing and domestic care is patriarchal and sexist.
The COVID-19 virus has exposed and exacerbated both pre-existing and new forms of inequalities wreaking major havoc in every corner of the globe, such as xenophobia and discrimination. Asians, African-Americans, and indigenous groups are the primary targeted ethnic groups to endure harsh racism and xenophobia since the beginning of COVID-19. Moreover, women, children, and individuals with disabilities are examples of vulnerable populations severely impacted by the virus and subsequent discrimination and stigma.
A key point to pay keen attention to is regional variations, such as socioeconomic status, that could play a role in perpetuating the lack of access to essential services for marginalized groups. To illustrate my point, did you know that children living in rural areas are three times more prone to die under the age of 5 than their counterparts living in high-income countries? Another startling fact is rural women are three times more likely to die while giving childbirth than those living in urban areas.
The second category of inequality that has manifested since the onset of the coronavirus is economic. Another sub-group that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic is youth between the ages of 15-24. About 13% of young workers have faced higher poverty rates than adult workers, who make up only 7% of poverty. Unsurprisingly, women and girls have been the most adversely affected by the pandemic in many facets, namely the unequal sharing of domestic and care responsibilities. An alarming statistic that aptly illustrates my point is that women are likely than their male counterparts to live below 50% of the median income level. 30% of income inequality takes place in the private sphere of the home between women and men.
The main takeaway I would like for readers to walk away with is inequalities in their myriad manifestations continue unabated. Without a shadow of a doubt, the coronavirus pandemic has brought new and pre-existing forms of inequality to the forefront. The second key takeaway for readers to take away with them is that we can contribute to the movement to eradicate the nefarious existence of inequalities, no matter how big or small. Advocating on behalf of other marginalized groups and educating oneself on fundamental concepts, such as microaggressions and cultural awareness, can tremendously serve us in our daily interactions with different individuals. I implore my audience to speak up and speak out at all times and to confront any form of injustice that you either directly experience or witness!
America, O. (2020, January 20). Time to Care: Unpaid and underpaid care work and the global inequality crisis. Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/research-publications/time-care/
America, O. (2014, October 30). Inequality and Extreme Poverty. Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/research-publications/inequality-and-extreme-poverty/
Statistics Division, U. D. (2020). - SDG Indicators. Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2020/goal-10/
Statistics Division, U. D. (2020). - SDG Indicators. Retrieved January 11, 2021, from https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2020/goal-01/