Press release: Women suffer the most from inequality Providing essential services can end this growing trend
Two hundred informal workers and youth will discuss issues of gender inequalities at work and at home exploring how public sector policies can reduce inequalities at a Forum on Practical Paths to Reduce Gender Inequalities on Sunday this week at the Cambodiana Hotel. The forum will also include participants form the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Women, Cambodian Food and Service Worker’s Association (CFSWF), and UN Women.
Oxfam in Cambodia is organising this forum to join Oxfam’s global campaign ahead of the release of a new report that highlights the growing inequality across the world. The report is being launched as political and business leaders gather for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
‘Public Good or Private Wealth’ shows the growing gap between rich and poor is undermining the fight against poverty, damaging our economies and fuelling injustice across the globe. Yet inequality continues to grow and all too often it is women and girls who are hit hardest.
We all suffer when public services are neglected, but women and girls pay the highest price. Girls are pulled out of school first when the money isn’t available to pay fees, or when sick relatives and young kids need to be taken care of. Women spend hundreds of extra hours of unpaid work looking after babies and sick relatives when healthcare or other public services are not accessible.
Solinn Lim, country director of Oxfam in Cambodia said, “The expectations on girls and women to care for the family, place them at the disadvantage to boys and men when it comes to accessing the labour market and earning a stable income.”
According a recent report by the ILO, Cambodia has one of the highest number of informal workforce in the region, with 93.1% of workers being informal (including agriculture workers), this is comparable to Laos (93.4%) and Nepal (93.6). More than half of them are women. The number of hours that women in Cambodia spend in unpaid care responsibilities needs further research, but across the world women spend on average two extra hours per day than men in care work responsibilities. These responsibilities vary from caring for young kids or sick relatives, to fetching water and food for the family.
Oxfam also found that one dollar of public money invested in the care sector could create 2.5 times as many jobs as a dollar invested in the construction industry.
Estimates show that if all the unpaid care work carried out by women across the globe was done by a single company it would have an annual turnover of $10 trillion – 43 times that of Apple, the world’s biggest company.
To reduce this growing gender and social inequality Oxfam in Cambodia recommends:
Increasing spending and improving quality of essential services, such as health care, education and social protection.
Improving access to The National Social Security Fund (NSSF)’s to marginalised workers, especially women. And ensuring women have access to maternal health, and parental benefits that support income loss during pregnancy and birth.
Invest in the provision of public childcare services which will free up women’s time allowing them to access formal work and create new jobs in the care industry.
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