Heavy responsibility for unpaid work falls on women: Speakers

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ISLAMABAD: A seminar was organized by Oxfam here on Thursday to highlight that global economic inequality is on the rise and women face its adverse effects more than men, . Women in rural communities and low-income countries spend up to 14 hours on unpaid care work, which is five times more than men do in the same communities. Girls who undertake a large amount of unpaid care work have lower rates of school attendance. While in Pakistan, it only takes 6 hours for the highest-paid bank CEO to make what a minimum wage worker earns in a year. Senator Babar Kauda Baloch, Chairperson Council of Chairpersons, Interior, Planning, Development and Special Initiatives voiced his views on equality and said, “We talk of empowering women and empowering men, but we must start by changing the society’s mindset. We need to start with change at the individual level before equality can be manifested in the community”. Addressing the participants at the PNCA, Mohammed Qazilbash Country Director Oxfam in Pakistan said “Women play an integral role every day in our society yet worldwide men own 50% more wealth than women. As well as doing care work for free at home, many poor women also work providing care for others, for example as domestic workers, who are among the most exploited workers in the world. Discussing the rise of inequality in Pakistan, eminent economist Dr. Kaiser Bengali stated “Men today enjoy the benefit of women doing all the care work. They take care of the children, elderly, cook food and a variety of other tasks men don’t have to do. If men were to start doing these tasks, the total GDP would be lower. We owe it to them to recognize their work and value it”. The event provided a platform for distinguished economists, policy makers, legislators, academia, civil society and media to address the great divide based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of hours of the most essential work – the unpaid and underpaid care work done primarily by women and girls around the world. The very top of the economic pyramid sees trillions of dollars of wealth in the hands of a very small group of people, predominantly men.