A report by Oxfam has revealed that unpaid and underpaid work by women is fueling economic inequality in Malawi and across the world.
The report was released in Lilongwe yesterday ahead of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting which starts today in Davos, Switzerland.
The report: “Time to Care” quotes Oxfam India Chief Executive Officer, Amitabh Behar, who is in Davos to represent the Oxfam confederation this year as saying women and girls are among those who benefit least from today’s economic system.
Behar said women and girls spend billions of hours cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the elderly.
“Unpaid care work is the ‘hidden engine’ that keeps the wheels of our economies, businesses and societies moving.
It is driven by women who often have little time to get an education, earn a decent living or have a say in how our societies are run, and who are therefore trapped at the bottom of the economy,” the report quotes Behar as saying.
Oxfam Malawi Governance Programme Manager, Mathias Kafunda, underscored the need for governments to ensure adequate funding to vital public services and infrastructure that could help reduce women and girls’ workload.
Kafunda cited investments in water and sanitation, electricity, childcare, healthcare could free up women’s time and improve their quality of life.
He said cases where government fails to provide adequate health care and discharges critically ill patients to be cared at home also creates a burden on women and girls.
Lilongwe Women Urban Forum Coordinator, Agnes Mphote, said many women in the city continue to face challenges of low pay.
Economics Association of Malawi Executive Director, Kettie Nyasulu, admitted that inequality is a big problem in Malawi.
Nyasulu said improving access to education and addressing the problem of corruption could help reduce inequality in Malawi.
The WEF Annual Meeting is the foremost creative force for engaging the world’s top leaders in collaborative activities to shape global, regional and industry agendas at the beginning of each year.
The theme of the 2020 meeting is ‘Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World’.