Inequality, which is one of the main concerns to UN, can be defined as an uneven distribution of resources in terms of social, income, gender, ethnicity, disability and age. It was identified as the most significant trend in 2015 as it ranked 2nd in last year’s economic outlook. In developed and developing countries alike, the poorest half of the population often controls less than 10% of its wealth. While it is true that around the world economic growth is picking up pace, deep challenges still remain very present, including poverty, environmental degradation, persistent unemployment, political instability, violence and conflict. These are often closely related to inequality.
This means that developing countries need to have the aim to reduce the illiteracy rate, reduce illnesses such as HIV/Hepatities, enhance environment and corporate sustainability globally, facilitate pure drinking water for children, reduce environmental footprint, reduce gender inequality and promote health awareness among citizens (UN 2014). This way, eight point agenda, which is known as Millennium Development Goals under UN will be achieved. OECD Income Inequality Index 2011 can also be improved.
Under microeconomic context, effective education policies can be implemented. Many developed countries attained efficient labor market policies and increased minimum wage for better contribution in terms of citizenship rights. Moreover, promoting labor rights is essential to reduce discrimination at workplace and create better working condition. Tax policies such as progressive on production, high income and regressive on household’s consumption can also be considered.
On the macroeconomic level, nations should facilitate free trade agreements, lower tariffs and barriers to result higher consumer benefits by attaining lower cost of imports and exports. EU, NAFTA and NATO are international treaties, which facilitate members in terms of trade, education and military purpose.
Moreover, the resources should be managed efficiently from government in order to reduce the rate of unemployment and poverty, which are alarmingly high in developing nations nowadays. High inflationary pressures and costs will lead to closure of many firms with good reputation and will eventually cause recession. Organizations like Nokia and Samsung have made employees redundant due to declining industrial sector. Banks such as RBS and Barclays have slowed down or even ceased their operations in the Middle East regions like UAE. Thus, good governance should be incorporated in political system of developing nations in order to achieve fairness and sustainability.
Besides, there is lack of transparency in political and judicial system of South-East Asia and African region although most of the Developed Nations such as USA and European countries provide numerous development aid and relief. Those grants for education and health reforms purpose get misused too often. To enhance impact, disaggregated, high quality and more transparent data is needed in order to target the investment and channel resources in most critical areas.
To reduce the risk of inequality to minimum, many international organizations such as IMF and World Bank are working towards inequality reduction in all forms within their respective economies by providing development funds. Large numbers of NGOs are working in remote areas of India and Pakistan to eradicate viruses and diseases with the support of WHO. These actions will ensure minimization of inequality, which is one of the universal challenge that the whole world must address.
Addressing inequality is not only a responsibility but also an opportunity. It is good for business as enables new demographic of consumers to be created, thus increase the chance of earning profit, especially for women. Efforts to reduce inequalities and achieve inclusion are multi stakeholder responsibility that requires concerted action at all levels, from local to national, and regional to global.
Appendix: Gender and Social Inequality Indicators
Inequality prevails all around the globe; hence it’s a global dilemma. Compare to South East Asian and Sub-Saharan regions, certain Middle Eastern regions and Central Asian countries prevail in the worst forms. Labor rights towards women are often very discriminatory (The World Bank, 2012).
Women in South Asian Countries such as India and Pakistan are not given any labor rights in terms of wages, hygiene conditions, working conditions, working hours, health and safety.
The data below shows the female labor force participation as per International Labor Organization records in Year 2012:
|Caribbean small states||54%|
|Central Europe and the Baltics||49%|
|East Asia & Pacific||63%|
|Europe & Central Asia||46%|
|Fragile and conflict affected situations||52%|
|Latin America & Caribbean||54%|
|Least developed countries: UN classification||66%|
|Middle East & North Africa||20%|
|Other small states||56%|
|Pacific island small states||44%|
Source: ILO (2012)
The above data shows that female labor force represents 51% of total world labor distribution. It could be derived that female labor participation is the smallest in the Arab World which is 23 %, 32 % for South Asia, and Certain Middle East countries and African countries with 20 %. This is a clear signal of inequality in female labor participation globally (The World Bank Female Participation Index 2012).
Appendix: Income Inequality Indicators
The standard of living has improved through decades. People are raising awareness in their own rights due to rapid globalization and e-communication. However, poverty trap and income gap still remain.
Income inequality is mainly due to inefficient policies that range from micro to macro perspective. Fiscal and monetary policies are the microeconomic agenda to be considered. Taxation system, inflationary pressures, and interest rates belong to fiscal policies. Monetary policies are directed towards money circulation and supply. On the other hand, globalization and balance of trade determines macroeconomic factors (UN, 2013). Inefficient implementation of policies will result to inequality and poverty among nations.
In order to address inequality effectively, countries need to embrace an integrated agenda that focuses on problem across social, economic and environmental dimensions, including access to education, healthcare and resources. Only this way equitable access to resources and services, as well as inclusive growth with decent jobs and likelihoods for all people within society will be able to be promoted.