The key to economic development lies in unleashing women’s potential and investing in their capabilities. Women bear a disproportionate weight of extreme poverty; women and girls represent 60% of chronically hungry people worldwide.¹ Nevertheless, it has been widely recognized that women have the potential to be the engine of economic and development progress. Addressing gender inequality and gender justice are crucial in enabling women to transform their lives and the lives of their families and communities.
Women’s roles as the primary caretakers of children, providers of household fuel and water, and in many areas of the world, producers of food can only begin to illustrate their importance in the economies and societies of developing countries.
The World Bank and the World Health Organization estimate that people with disabilities represent approximately 15% of the global population.2 Of this population, 80% live in developing countries and 20% live in extreme poverty.3 People with disabilities are overrepresented among the people living in extreme poverty, on less than $1.90 per day.4
Disabilities can exacerbate poverty by increasing the costs incurred by a household for care and treatment. Household earnings can be negatively impacted if the person with a disability is dependent on others for day-to-day support. In turn, living in poverty can increase the likelihood of disability due to hazardous living and working conditions, inadequate access to treatment, and malnutrition, especially in childhood.
There are about 350 million indigenous people in the world, comprising less than 5% of the world’s population, but around 15% of the world’s poorest people.5 Indigenous people worldwide have long faced social exclusion, institutional discrimination and ethnic violence, and limited economic opportunity – all factors that contribute to a cycle of intergenerational poverty and loss of indigenous cultural heritage.
Often forced to migrate to urban centers in search of income, indigenous people may be forced to abandon their native dress, language, and traditions, and lose their sense of cultural unity. And, their level of access to social protection programs which provide health and education services is well below national averages in many countries with indigenous populations.
The current global population of displaced persons tops 65.6 million, a record high.6 Displaced people face poverty, risk of exploitation and the denial of fundamental human rights while global aid agencies and host countries face strained resources.
Upwards of 11.6 million refugees, or two thirds of the global refugee population, were in protracted refugee situations by the end of 2016.7 Of this number, 4.1 million refugees were in a protracted situation lasting more than 20 years.8 Refugees are often displaced long after the immediate conflict or disaster that put them on that path, and making them particularly vulnerable to economic and social exclusion. Without assistance, they can face sustained discrimination and marginalization. Refugees are at risk of violence, chronic hunger, and other issues faced by people living in extreme poverty.