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Oxfam and women

Oxfam puts women at the heart of all our work. Not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it's vital in our fight for a world without poverty.

Why does Oxfam focus on women?

The world has made great progress against poverty in the last few decades, but many millions of women and girls are still trapped in lives of hardship and fear by discrimination and abuse.

But time after time, we've seen how women who can get an education, earn a fair living and enjoy independent lives can leave poverty behind - and bring their families and communities with them.

Why is Oxfam talking about women now?

At the current rate of progress, it will take 170 years to close the economic gap between men and women - and this figure is actually larger than it was last year. Economic inequality between women and men has now reversed to levels last seen in 2008.

Yet tackling this injustice would make the world a fairer and more prosperous place for all of us - research shows that an extra $12trillion could be added to the world economy every year if women and men participated more equally in our economies.

So, all in all, there isn't a moment to lose.

What evidence is there that women are worst affected by poverty?

Globally, women earn 23% less on average than men.

Women own fewer assets and are less likely to be able to read and write.

They're more likely to live in poverty than men, struggling to make ends meet despite working day and night.

Women often have to take on insecure, unsafe and poorly paid jobs just to get by, on top of unpaid domestic work and caring duties. Women and girls around the world spend 200million hours just fetching and carrying water every single day. 600 million women rely on the most insecure and poorly paid forms of work (such as working from home or on family farms).

Outdated attitudes and laws don't help - one in three women suffers sexual or physical violence, most of which takes place in the home and can be a serious obstacle to women's efforts to escape poverty. Yet at least 46 countries have no laws to protect women against domestic violence. Around half the countries in the world have legal restrictions on the types of jobs that women are allowed to do.

What is Oxfam doing to help women?

Oxfam supports women and girls around the world in their fight to escape poverty - whether it's challenging attitudes and behaviour, ending violence against women and girls, improving livelihoods or increasing women's participation in decision-making.

Take unpaid domestic and care work. The time this takes up is a real barrier, preventing girls from going to school and women from earning a decent living. So we're working on the three R's - recognise, reduce and redistribute.


The unpaid domestic and care work women do is of immense value - perhaps as much as $10trillion each year. This value needs to be recognised, as our economies would grind to a halt without it.


Better public services would mean less unpaid domestic work, childcare or caring for elderly relatives would need to be done - and as women do most of it, they would benefit most, freeing their time to earn, learn or just enjoy life more.


Women do at least twice as much of this unpaid work as men, and sometimes it's ten times as much. As well as reducing the amount that needs to be done, we need to start sharing the duties more fairly between women and men.

With your help, we can support women and girls to live their lives free from violence, discrimination and abuse - and help end poverty for everyone, for good.