Inequality, Gender and Social Protection

In 2015 world leaders signed the Agenda 2030 and the SDGs that recognize not only poverty but inequality at its heart. Still, the global economic system works for the few at the expense of the many. Far from trickling down, income and wealth are flowing upwards at a frightening rate. The level of such inequality is morally and economically harmful.  Across the world, women are the ones who are forced to engage in poorly paid and precarious jobs. Countries in which the gap between rich and poor is more extreme are also countries in which the gap between women and men is greater.

Unless the causes of extreme economic inequality are urgently addressed, the majority of the benefits of women-driven growth will accrue to those already at the top of the economic pyramid. The same forces that drive this economic inequality – political capture and market fundamentalism – are also driving greater gender inequality. By addressing these, through accountable and democratic institutions, decent work, progressive taxation and universal public services, we can win the twin struggles against gender and economic inequalities.

Furthermore social protection should provide essential health care and income security. The G20 can contribute by focusing on decent work, unemployment insurance, pensions or adequate health insurance throughout the lifecycle. Social protection and decent work can reduce poverty and inequality, increase child welfare and education, and reduce ill health and premature deaths.

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