Press Releases

OXFAM MEDIA ADVISORY – COVID-19, 22 April 2020

Oxfam spokespeople are available for comment or interview on the following topics:

COVID-19 and its impact on the world’s poorest

Oxfam and partners are on the ground in more than 65 countries, monitoring, preparing for and responding to the deadly threat of COVID-19 among the millions of vulnerable people we work with.

Without adequate health and hygiene infrastructure, the coronavirus has the potential to devastate developing countries and would be catastrophic for people living in cramped and overcrowded refugee camps, in the middle of ongoing conflict or through extreme weather events like drought or cyclones.

Oxfam’s expertise is in water, sanitation, and hygiene programmes as well as public health promotion – is critical to stop the spread of deadly disease and keep communities safe and healthy. We are working closely with local partners organisations to deliver clean water and safe sanitation (i.e. toilets and showers) to at risk communities, alongside other essential aid and healthcare equipment.  

Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh:

The sprawling refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh is the largest in the world, home to almost one million Rohingya refugees and severely overcrowded with 40,000 people per square kilometre. Our staff on the ground are now preparing for a monsoon season which has the potential to decimate already inadequate water and sanitation facilities, while washing dirty and dangerous water through the camp, latrines and homes.

Malnutrition and diseases like dysentery, cholera and typhoid are already rampant in Cox’s Bazar, undermining the health of these communities. There is also very limited access to basic health services, let alone more specialised care.

The UN consider communities and refugees in Cox’s Bazar among the most at risk globally in this pandemic. There are currently 3,382 cases of COVID-19 in Bangladesh.

Yemen:

More than half of the population of Yemen do not have enough to eat, which is feeding chronic malnutrition rates and disease. Communities are in the grips of a cholera outbreak – with more than 56,000 suspected cases recorded in the first seven weeks of this year alone.

Efforts to beat cholera are massively undermined by the war, which has decimated the country’s health, water, and sanitation systems. Medical supplies are in chronically short supply and only 50 per cent of health centres are functioning. There are severe shortages of medicines, equipment, and staff. Around 17 million people – more than half the population – have no access to clean water. Oxfam is providing clean water, sanitation, and food in Yemen, alongside other essential aid.

The first case of COVID-19 in Yemen was confirmed on 10th April 2020.

Gaza Strip:

In Gaza, there are more than 5,000 people per square kilometre and fewer than 70 Intensive Care Unit beds and 62 ventilators for a population of two million. The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas of the world. Good public health as a strategy to counter the spread of infectious disease has already been undermined by the Israeli blockade.

Oxfam Ireland’s COVID-19 response, supported by Irish Aid, is now underway. The process of procuring and delivering supplies is in motion and Oxfam teams are deploying preventative measures to protect the lives of the near two million Gazans trapped in the Strip.

12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 recorded in Gaza as of 22nd April 2020.

COVID-19 and inequality – Oxfam’s Dignity not Destitution report

The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could push half a billion more people into poverty unless urgent action is taken to bail out developing countries. Oxfam’s new report Dignity Not Destitution presents fresh analysis which suggests between six and eight per cent of the global population could be forced into poverty as governments shut down entire economies to manage the spread of the virus. This could set back the fight against poverty by a decade, and as much as 30 years in some places such as Africa.

We’re calling for an ‘Emergency Rescue Package for All’ which would enable poor countries to provide cash grants to those who have lost their income and to bail out vulnerable small businesses. It would be paid for through a variety of measures including:

  • The immediate cancellation of US$1 trillion worth of developing country debt payments in 2020.  
  • The creation of at least US$1 trillion in new international reserves, known as Special Drawing Rights, to dramatically increase the funds available to countries.

Read the full press release and report.

Sustainable fashion

The impact of COVID-19 on garment workers in Bangladesh

Bangladesh accounts for 5 per cent of global garment production with four million people working in textile factories. The majority of those people (80 per cent) are women, 9 of 10 of whom live in poverty and struggle to survive, earning approximately €3-€4 per 60-hour day.

Due to COVID-19, more than one million garment workers in Bangladesh have been fired or temporarily laid off because of big brands cancelling orders or failing to pay for order cancellations. 80 per cent of dismissed workers were sent home without severance while 72 per cent of temporarily laid off workers were sent home without pay.

Oxfam works with female garment workers in Bangladesh to call for a living wage and decent working conditions. We’re continuing to call on brands to ensure the safety and protection of garment workers during the COVID-19 crisis and to transform the fragile foundation on which the fashion industry is built.

Support your local Oxfam shop – even if it’s closed!

As people across the country use lockdown as a chance to declutter their wardrobes, drawers, bookcases and beyond, it might be tempting to dump the boxes and bags piling up as a result – but we’re calling on people to save their unwanted items and donate them to their local Oxfam shop as soon as we-reopen our doors. That way we are reducing the amount of clothes and textiles that will end up in landfill and helping to save the planet and its people.

Our shops are proud to be part of the solution to ‘throwaway fashion’ but they also play an invaluable role in raising much-needed funds for our work worldwide, something more important now than ever.

ENDS

CONTACT:

To arrange a comment or interview or for more information or images etc., please contact:

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165
Alice Dawson-Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 83 198 1869

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Half a billion people could be pushed into poverty by coronavirus, warns Oxfam

Crisis could set the fight against poverty back by up to 30 years

The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could push half a billion more people into poverty unless urgent action is taken to bail out developing countries, said Oxfam today. The agency is calling on world leaders to agree an ‘Economic Rescue Package for All’ to keep poor countries and poor communities afloat, ahead of key meetings of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and G20 Finance Ministers’ next week.

Oxfam’s new report Dignity Not Destitution presents fresh analysis conducted by researchers at King’s College London and the Australian National University which suggests between six and eight per cent of the global population could be forced into poverty as governments shut down entire economies to manage the spread of the virus. This could set back the fight against poverty by a decade, and as much as 30 years in some places such as Africa. Over half the global population could be living in poverty in the aftermath of the pandemic.

An ‘Emergency Rescue Package for All’ would enable poor countries to provide cash grants to those who have lost their income and to bail out vulnerable small businesses. It would be paid for through a variety of measures including:

  • The immediate cancellation of US$1 trillion worth of developing country debt payments in 2020. Cancelling Ghana’s external debt payments in 2020 would enable the government to give a cash grant of $20 dollars a month to each of the country’s 16 million children, elderly and people with a disability for a period of six months.
  • The creation of at least US$1 trillion in new international reserves, known as Special Drawing Rights, to dramatically increase the funds available to countries. This would give the Ethiopian government access to an additional $630 million – enough to increase their health spending by 45 percent.

Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland Chief Executive, said: “We know that if left unchecked, without rapid, decisive and collective action, this virus could have taken as many as 40 million lives. And while we struggle to cope with the widespread loss of life and human suffering it is causing, at Oxfam, we’re urgently calling for similar decisive and collective action to prevent a global economic fallout that would devastate and threaten the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.

“One man – Micah Olywangu, a taxi driver and father of three from Nairobi, Kenya, who has not had a fare since the lockdown – told us that “this virus will starve us before it makes us sick”. And his is not the only family facing this terrifying reality – for poor people in poor countries who are already struggling to survive there are almost no safety nets to stop them falling into further poverty and destitution.

“G20 Finance Ministers, the IMF and World Bank must give developing countries an immediate cash injection to help them bail out poor and vulnerable communities. They must cancel all developing country debt payments for 2020 and encourage other creditors to do the same, and issue at least US$1 trillion of Special Drawing Rights.”

Existing inequalities dictate the economic impact of this crisis. The poorest workers in rich and poor nations are less likely to be in formal employment, enjoy labour protections such as sick pay, or be able to work from home. Globally, just one out of every five unemployed people have access to unemployment benefits. Two billion people work in the informal sector with no access to sick pay —the majority in poor countries where 90 percent of jobs are informal compared to just 18 percent in rich nations.

Women are on the front line of the coronavirus response and are likely to be hardest hit financially. Women make up 70 per cent of health workers globally and provide 75 percent of unpaid care, looking after children, the sick and the elderly. Women are also more likely to be employed in poorly paid precarious jobs that are most at risk. More than one million Bangladeshi garment workers – 80 per cent of whom are women– have already been laid off or sent home without pay after orders from western clothing brands were cancelled or suspended.

Many wealthy nations have introduced multi-billion-dollar economic stimulus packages to support business and workers, but most developing nations lack the financial firepower to follow suit. The UN estimates that nearly half of all jobs in Africa could be lost.

Emergency solidarity taxes, such as a tax on extraordinary profits or the very wealthiest individuals, could mobilise additional resources. Delivering the $2.5 trillion the UN estimates is needed to support developing countries through the pandemic would also require an additional $500 billion in overseas aid. This includes $160 billion which Oxfam estimates is needed to boost poor countries’ public health systems and $2 billion for the UN humanitarian fund.

“Governments must learn the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis where bailouts for banks and corporations were paid for by ordinary people as jobs were lost, wages flatlined and essential services such as healthcare cut to the bone. Economic stimulus packages must support ordinary workers and small businesses, and bail outs for big corporations must be conditional on action to build fairer, more sustainable economies,” added Clarken.

The full embargoed report – Dignity Not Destitution: An Economic Rescue Package for All – available upon request.

 

ENDS

CONTACT: Spokespeople available. For interviews or more information, contact:

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

Alice Dawson-Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org| +353 (0) 83 198 1869

Notes to editors:

  • Report embargoed until 00:01 GMT on Thursday 9th April 2020
  • Researchers at King’s College London and the Australian National University carried out this analysis at Oxfam’s suggestion. The results will be published in the Oxfam report Dignity not Destitution on Thursday 9th April. A more detailed working paper will also be published on Thursday 9th April by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research.
  • The World Bank and IMF 2020 Spring meetings will take place virtually from 17-19 April. G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors will meet virtually on 15 April.
  • In 2018 there were 3.4 billion people living on less than $5.5 per day according to the World Bank. Researchers used mathematical models to predict how many more people would fall below World Bank poverty lines of $1.90, $3.20 and $5.50 a day based on a 5, 10 and 20 percent drop in income. A 20 percent drop in income would mean an estimated 547.6 million more people living on less than $5.50 a day. Taking the range of estimates into account researchers predict a 6 - 8 percent rise in poverty compared to 2018 levels.
  • News outlets are reporting over 1 million garment workers in Bangladesh have lost their jobs as a result of orders being cancelled or suspended. The percentage of women working in the Garment industry in Bangladesh is from the World Bank.
  • Figures for Ghana from Diloá Jacob Bailey Athias of Development Pathways, based on UNDESA population figures.
  • Figures for Ethiopia from Development Finance International
  • Oxfam is scaling up its cash transfer programming and food assistance in vulnerable communities across the globe —from poor urban settlements in Bangladesh to rural indigenous communities in Guatemala. Oxfam has been a leader in cash transfer programming for more than 20 years; in Yemen, we provide cash to families displaced by the conflict to buy food; in Colombia, we provide cash to Venezuelan migrants on the move; and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which faced the world's second largest Ebola epidemic in history, we distribute cash and vouchers to allow the most vulnerable households to buy food and basic necessities.
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Oxfam Ireland boosts response to COVID-19 in Gaza Strip with funding from Irish Aid

Oxfam Ireland is working to make sure families in Gaza remain protected

On March 5th, the Palestinian Authority declared a state of emergency in response to the first cases of novel coronavirus (Covid-19). With two million people living in the Gaza Strip - one of the most densely populated areas of the world - the risk of transmission is unavoidably high, while the result would be unimaginably devastating.

On March 21st, the first two cases of Covid-19 were detected in the Gaza Strip – and as of April 6th, there were 246 confirmed cases in the Occupied Palestinian Territory with further testing in progress.

Good public health as a strategy to counter the spread of infectious disease has been long-undermined in Gaza by a now 13 year-long Israeli blockade that has restricted importation of materials essential to the repair and maintenance of water and sanitation infrastructure. Restrictions on the movement of medical workers means they have not been able to take part in training opportunities or exchange medical knowledge and skills.

With support from the Government of Ireland, Oxfam has mobilised teams to urgently respond to the threat of COVID-19 and the process of procuring and delivering essential supplies that will protect the lives of the near two million Gazans trapped in the Strip is well underway.

Colm Byrne, Humanitarian Manager with Oxfam Ireland, said: “Our immediate priority is to reduce the risk of Covid-19 rapidly spreading among vulnerable communities in the Gaza Strip. To do this, it is critical to ensure quarantine centres have sufficient water and sanitation systems and are stocked with essential medical supplies. It’s also critical to carry out life-saving hygiene promotion in the communities we work with."

“In response, we are working with Irish Aid to utilise the Emergency Response Fund Scheme (ERFS) so that we can urgently reach those most in need in Gaza, to save lives and reduce suffering. The emergency grant will support schools, which are now being used as quarantine centres, as well as protective equipment for critical frontline staff in health care facilities. Hygiene kits will also be distributed."

“This crisis has highlighted our interconnectedness – how easily all of our lives can be disrupted or threatened, and how we cannot say we are safe if that is not true for all of us, especially those most at-risk among us. If we cannot offer a helping hand and solidarity with the most vulnerable during this global crisis, we go against our undeniable interconnectedness as people. In the past, communities and countries across the world extended that hand to Ireland – I am very grateful that we are now in a position to do the same for the people of Gaza.”

Mohammed Ammar, Oxfam’s Saving Lives Programme Manager in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel said: “People in confinement around the world are experiencing what it means to be Palestinian, to live under lockdown and movement restriction. There is a lot of empathy and we can only hope some good will come out of this once the storm has passed.”

“We are bracing ourselves for the worst. Hospitals and clinics face incredible challenges such as electricity, water, and equipment shortages due to very fragile conditions. There is an inadequate amount of Intensive Care Unit beds and ventilators for the population of two million in Gaza. More funds are urgently needed to respond to the worst-case scenario of a major outbreak that would bring Gaza’s health system to its knees."

For many years, Oxfam has continued to work on maintaining and repairing the water distribution network in Gaza. Oxfam teams in Gaza are also finalising the maintenance of more than a dozen public water taps in vulnerable areas. They are gravely concerned about the deep impact Covid-19 will have on the women, men, and children already living under immense pressure from the economic repercussions of the blockade, the lack of clean water, and a very fragile health system.

Shane Stevenson, Oxfam‘s Country Director in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, said: “On behalf of the team here, we are deeply grateful for the allocation of the funds to Oxfam’s COVID-19 response in Gaza. We are continuing to explore other funding mechanisms to further support our COVID-19 Response Plan not just in Gaza but also in the West Bank."

“Thanks to Oxfam Ireland, and especially to the people of Ireland who are supporting this response through Ireland’s overseas development programme, Irish Aid.""

 

ENDS

CONTACT

Oxfam Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel in-country Spokespeople available for interview

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

Alice Dawson-Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org| +353 (0) 83 198 1869

 

Notes to editor

  • How people in gaza are affected:
    • Palestinians in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza have no safety net to fall back on. Small shops have shut and business-owners have no income to pay their employees or provide for their own families. In Gaza, the unemployment rate sits at a 47%. With movement restriction to prevent a further spread of Covid-19 in the blockaded enclave, those supporting their families won’t be able to put enough food on the table.
    • Food prices in the Gaza strip rose when the outbreak started and could further increase. Families with no stable income will be the most affected as they won't have enough money to buy what they need. In Gaza, the poorest communities, women-headed families, the elderly and disabled will bear the biggest brunt of this crisis.
    • Many families in Gaza depend on free water distribution. Because of the Covid-19 outbreak, these families are the most at risk of contracting the disease while gathering at public water taps to get water for their homes. These families have no proper alternative for safe drinking water in case they cannot access these taps. Ensuring access to safe drinking water and sanitation is a main concern in relation to increased restrictions.
    • Women shoulder the vast burden of unpaid care, which is bound to increase dramatically as caring for sick relatives and looking after children at home becomes more urgent. Being quarantined for weeks at a time can also raise the risk of domestic violence while women are unable to escape to a place of safety, as social and economic tensions increase the likelihood of violence in the home.
  • What is Oxfam doing in Gaza:
    • Oxfam is providing protection equipment for health workers as well as, beds for patients in quarantine centres, soap and other essential personal hygiene products.
    • Oxfam are helping the poorest and most vulnerable families put food on the table and buy hygiene items and access clean water to protect them from the outbreak. They are currently maintaining 14 water filling points in vulnerable communities in Gaza. Oxfam’s WASH team is coordinating to finalise maintenance before further lockdown measures.
    • Oxfam are working with other agencies such as WHO and UNICEF to raise awareness about best hygiene and health practices in order to avoid further spread of cases across the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Irish Aid’s Emergency Response Fund Scheme (ERFS) supports humanitarian response during the initial weeks after the onset of an emergency. Through ERFS, Ireland pre-positions funds with participating Non-Governmental Organisations at the beginning of the year to enable them to respond quickly and appropriately to humanitarian crises. Irish Aid is the Irish Government’s overseas development programme, which is funded by the Irish taxpayer. The programme is managed by the Development Co-operation and Africa Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
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Monsoon season and COVID-19 – Rohingya refugees face double threat of disaster and disease

Oxfam urgently appeals for public donations to support response in Bangladesh and beyond.

At the time of writing, 49 cases of COVID-19 were recorded in Bangladesh. Having witnessed how quickly the virus is spreading across Europe, Oxfam Ireland has expressed serious concern for the welfare of the women, children and men living in overcrowded camps, specifically in Cox’s Bazar – the world’s largest refugee settlement – where practicing social distancing and good hygiene practices is almost impossible.

Against the backdrop of a world on hold, the Rohingya community approach the three-year anniversary of a crisis that resulted in their forced displacement. Conditions for Rohingya people on both sides of the border are getting worse, and now they face the double threat of impending monsoons and the possibility of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Monsoon season is a particularly challenging time of year, with close to a million people living in fragile bamboo shelters on muddy hillsides. When the valley that Cox’s Bazar lies in floods, it can sweep houses and even little children away. Flooding and landslides present an immediate risk to life, and in the aftermath, outbreaks of disease.

Emer Mullins, Director of Public Engagement with Oxfam Ireland, who recently visited Cox’s Bazar said:

“Over half the population of Cox’s Bazar are children, while the camps’ population density is more than four times the UN recommendation for refugee camps.

“Diseases are already common including respiratory infections, acute diarrhoea and malaria. Health facilities are insufficient and currently it can be a long process to get a permit to leave the camp to go to hospital.

“Many people arrived injured and deeply traumatised by their experiences, including having seen loved ones killed. Yet most are not getting the support they need.

“My thoughts are drawn to Naila - a woman I met in Cox’s Bazar last November. Naila was born in Myanmar and forced to flee her village with her five children when violence erupted in 2017. Her basic needs have been met, but Naila said what her and her family really need is ‘safety and security’. In our current reality, of a world on lockdown under threat from an indiscriminate foe, I think we can all understand the need for Naila, indeed for all Rohingya people, to return to a safe and normal life as soon as possible.

“We’re urgently appealing to people to support our monsoon preparation appeal – crucial work that is now all the more important as COVID-19 further threatens the health and lives of Rohingya refugees.”

Oxfam is providing vital aid, including clean water and latrines, to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees on both sides of the border. It is also working to improve camp infrastructure by installing flood-proof wells, better toilets and improved roads and has contingency plans in place to restore water supplies and distribute essential aid if needed once the monsoons strike. Oxfam calls on both governments (Bangladesh and Myanmar) to work with humanitarian agencies to improve conditions and build resilience within the camps in preparation for the monsoon season and a possible COVID-19 outbreak.

The monsoon season could devastate this camp, and COVID-19 could devastate the community living within it. Further support will be needed to ensure that vital life-saving measures can be taken now, before it is too late.

To support Oxfam’s Monsoon Response Appeal for Rohingya refugees, visit: https://www.oxfamireland.org/monsoon

ENDS

Contact

ROI:     Caroline Reid  | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

NI:       Phillip Graham| phillip.graham@oxfam.org | +44 (0) 7841 102535

Notes to the editor

o   Spokespeople available for interview upon request, including Emer Mullins who recently visited Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh

o   Visual content available for use – images available upon request.

o   Short video available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yF8nVZPLSSE

o   What Oxfam is doing:

Oxfam is providing vital aid including clean water and food to Rohingya people in Bangladesh and Myanmar. So far, it has helped more than a quarter of a million (360,000) people in Bangladesh and continues to support 105,000 Rohingya and other Muslim minorities living in camps in Myanmar with clean water and sanitation services. 

o   In Bangladesh

Oxfam has 207 staff in Cox’s Bazar – of whom 184 (90%) are Bangladeshi (as of August 2019).

Oxfam is helping people stay healthy by installing water points, toilets and showers, and distributing soap and other essentials like sanitary cloths. Oxfam has recruited more than 600 Rohingya volunteers to help reach 165,000 other refugees with information about safe hygiene.

Oxfam opened the biggest-ever sewage plant in a refugee camp, funded by UNHCR, which can process the waste of 100,000 people safely on site. Oxfam has designed a solar-powered water network to distribute safe chlorinated water more effectively to refugees.

Oxfam employed over 1,800 Bangladeshi locals on community construction projects including repairs to roads, schools and water sources. Almost 400 local people received grants to start or expand their small businesses.

Oxfam has installed more than 350 solar-powered street lights around the camp and provided 20,000 torches and portable solar lanterns so that refugees – especially women – feel safer leaving their shelters after dark to reach water points and toilets.

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Despite progress, political and economic systems continue to favour men over women, says Oxfam Ireland

 

  • Hidden care work: The female engine that props up our economies and societies
  • Oxfam Ireland publish their submission to the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality

Read Oxfam Ireland’s full Submission to the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality

Over reliance on undervalued care work and gender segregation of the labour market stems from outmoded social norms and assigned gender roles, Oxfam Ireland said today as they published their submission to the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality ahead of International Women’s Day 2020.

After more than 70 years of campaigning and advocating with women and communities for gender equality in over 90 countries, Oxfam’s submission draws on their learning and expertise to detail how Ireland can progress towards achieving gender equality on a global scale.

Oxfam Irelands’ Submission gives recommendations on:

  • Gender responsive budgeting
  • Gender pay gap
  • Gender Equality in leadership and participation
  • Gender equality in the care economy
  • Gender equality in development and aid

Despite Ireland’s work towards achieving gender equality in recent years, the gender pay gap remains an issue, and female employment rates are slightly lower than the European average – something that should be considered against the backdrop of Ireland’s relatively low level of state funding for subsidised childcare and the lack of investment in childcare infrastructure.

Childcare costs in Ireland are among the highest in the EU – young families can pay the price of a second monthly rent or mortgage for crèches, which can limit or impede a woman’s choice to return to work or pursue employment in certain fields or professions.

In addition, women in Ireland are over-represented in the low paid sector, can be working reduced hours due to care responsibilities and are also more likely to have to leave paid employment to fulfil unpaid care work of children or elderly dependents. This in turn results in reduced benefits and pension contributions – creating a pension gap - possibly extending cycles of financial insecurity or poverty into retirement age.

The responsibility for caring in Ireland is deeply gendered and severely unbalanced. Oxfam Ireland estimates that in Ireland, women’s unpaid care work contributes at least €24 billion to the economy every year - the equivalent of 12.3 percent of the entire annual Irish economy.

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland, said:

“The roots of the gender pay gap in Ireland run deep. It will require commitments from multiple stakeholders, and collaboration across all sectors, if the gap is to be closed. Gender segregation of the labour market stems from outmoded social norms and assigned gender roles - harmful stereotypes that devalue the role of women in society and the economy.

“A gender responsive budget is one that works for everyone, not just women. Equality budgeting requires investment in care systems rather than relying on women’s unpaid, or often under paid care work. The allocation of funding and resources to vital services like healthcare, education and childcare – will provide supports to people who need it most and help to mitigate the effects of the care crisis, while tackling gender inequality.

“Gender equality is not just the concern of women; it is the concern of everyone. Tackling it is one of the most effective ways of achieving positive economic and social outcomes for everyone in society. Increased investment in childcare, healthcare, and education can reduce the burden of unpaid work on women and create pathways to increased economic, civic and political participation, thereby helping to close the pay and pension gaps, and increase gender equality in Ireland and around the globe.”

ENDS

Contact

Caroline Reid, caroline.reid@oxfam.org, +353 (0)87 912 3165

Notes

Read Oxfam Ireland’s full Submission to the Citizens’ Assembly on Gender Equality

  • The Economic and Social Research Institute published a report that revealed that there is a gender pension gap of 35 percent in Ireland.
  • A gender responsive budget requires an analysis of government budgets from a gender perspective - including how they respond to outmoded gender norms and roles. It is the active gathering of information across multiple budgetary areas including health, education, income to see how their impact may differ depending on gender, ethnicity or age.
  • Gender quotas can be used as an effective tool in the fight against gender inequality. In certain contexts, such as business or politics where progression of gender equality is slow, the utilisation of gender quotas have proven successful and have helped to diversify landscapes – Irish politics being one. However, the structural inequalities that prevents or restricts women from taking up leadership positions across all spheres including economic, social, and political need to be addressed.
  • When talking gender equality, international development cooperation and humanitarian action is no exception – it needs to be adapted accordingly. Successful aid ensures that gender justice is at its heart. A feminist approach to foreign policy and official development assistance will help to tackle the root causes of gender inequality, discrimination against women, girls and other minorities and challenge existing patriarchal power structures that have benefited men whilst discriminating against women and girls globally.
  • ‘4R’s’ framework that takes into account the principles of:
  • Recognition of unpaid and poorly paid care work as a type of work or production that has real value
  • Reduction of the total number of hours spent on unpaid caring through access to affordable and quality time-saving devices and care-supporting infrastructure
  • Redistribution of unpaid care work more fairly within the household but also in shifting the responsibility of unpaid care work to the state and the private sector
  • Representing the most marginalised caregivers to ensure that they have a voice in the design and delivery of policies, systems and services that affect their lives.

 

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