undA new UNDP report has said that humanity remains deeply unequal despite impressive progress and a sustained reduction in inequality requires a shift to more inclusive growth patterns supported by redistributive polices and changes in social norm.
The report, titled ‘Humanity Divided: Confronting Inequality in Developing Countries’ and released Wednesday by the organisation’s administrator Helen Clark, said that the richest one percent of the world population owns about 40 percent of the world’s assets while the bottom half owns no more than one percent.
“The report explores the causes and consequences of the inequalities which divide us — within and between countries — and argues that there is nothing inevitable about growing inequality,” Clark said in a statement.
Income inequality after adjusting for population size increased by 11 percent in developing countries between 1990 and 2010.
More than 75 percent of the population is living today in societies where income is more unequally distributed than it was in the 1990s, the report said.
The report stated that high inequality undermines development by hindering economic progress, weakening democratic life and threatening social cohesion.
A shift is needed towards a more inclusive pattern of growth, one that raises the incomes of poor and low income households faster than average in order to reduce inequality.
But high and persistent inequality goes beyond income.
Despite overall decline in maternal mortality in the majority of developing countries, women in rural areas are still up to three times more likely to die while giving birth than women living in urban centres.
Participation of women in the workforce has gone up but they still remain under-represented in decision-making positions while continuing to earn significantly less than men.
The report shows that children in lowest income families were up to three times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than children born in the highest rich families in some regions.
Despite some social protection that has been extended, persons with disabilities are up to five times more likely to incur catastrophic health expenditures than average ones, the report said.