It's time to even it up


Eighty-two percent of the wealth generated last year went to the richest one percent, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world are no better off.


These figures starkly illustrate how the inequality crisis is worsening as economic growth continues to benefit just the wealthy few.


Billionaire wealth increased by $762 billion last year – that’s enough money to end extreme poverty seven times over.


Last year saw the biggest increase in billionaires in history – one person became a billionaire every two days, while nine out of 10 are men. While this was happening, women provided $10 trillion in unpaid care to support the global economy.

Who are the Winners and Losers?

Economic rewards are increasingly concentrated at the top. While millions of ordinary workers still live below the poverty line, returns for shareholders and senior executives have gone through the roof. On average, it takes just over four days for a CEO from the top five firms in the garment industry to earn what an ordinary female worker from Bangladesh earns in her lifetime. Workers in the sector are struggling in insecure, dangerous jobs with few rights or protections. Women like Lan, pictured, and young people are the most likely to end up in these jobs.

Lan works in a factory in Dong Nai province, in southern Vietnam, which produces shoes for global fashion brands. She works six days a week for at least nine hours a day, earning around $1 per hour. She works on 1,200 pairs of shoes a day, yet she can't afford to buy even one pair for her son.


The 32-year- old mother of two is married, but her husband is unable to work due to illness. Lan moved away from home to create a better future for her 15-month- old daughter and 12-year- old son but her low wages combined with the high cost of living mean that she can’t afford for her children to live with her full time. Her parents help look after the children in her home province, Thanh Hoa, which is almost 1,500km away. Unfortunately for Lan, she rarely gets to visit her family due to the high travel costs and difficulties with taking annual leave.


Lan said: "It’s hard because my children cannot live with me. I feel very sorry for my children. They always ask to come here, but I don't allow it. I cannot afford to raise them here. My son really wants to come live with me and study here. They have to be left with relatives because I don’t have enough money to feed them and pick them up from school. I miss them as I’m far away. I want to be close to my children.

Lan's Story - Short

What can you do to help?

Inequality is keeping people trapped in poverty, so join us and let’s step up the fight against it. Together, we can fight inequality and beat poverty for good.

Support our work with people in poverty

By donating to our work worldwide, you’ll be helping people like Lan in Vietnam. Oxfam works with the Legal Aid Centre of Dong Nai province to improve the situation for workers. The centre provides legal counselling and support to workers, helps to protect workers’ rights through court cases, and provides training and information so that workers better understand their legal labour rights.


It’s time we were all equal. Please consider donating to our work today and help us to Even it Up.

Our Policy Documents Relating To Tax

Mantras and Myths: A true picture of the corporate tax system in Ireland


This report details how the Irish corporate tax system continues to facilitate tax avoidance by the world’s biggest companies and how this negatively impacts on the poorest countries in the world.


What Ireland needs to do to end corporate tax avoidance


This easy-to-understand short paper outlines key measures Ireland should undertake to address corporate tax avoidance.