Thursday, December 15

The Truth is Hard to Accept

“Women make 10% of the world's income and own only 1% of property, even though they perform 66% of the world's labor.”

From Willemvdk on Flickr
This one statistic, out of the many I have in my video, has so far caused the greatest confusion and disbelief among viewers. A commenter on the YouTube page claimed that “there is NO way this is accurate,” and even my friend and my younger brother were skeptical about how this fact could possibly be measured.

I cannot speak for other people, but I believe the reason why they have trouble accepting this fact is because many of them are thinking about the workforce and labor in America, or Western civilization in general. In developed countries, gender-based issues often center around inequality in pay and job opportunities, and unfortunately there are still lingering stereotypes that husbands go to work while wives stay home and care for the children. So when they hear that women are actually performing two-thirds of the world's work, they find it hard to believe. But I am not talking about America, or Britain, or Japan, or any other developed nation. I am talking about the whole world, which is 80-85% people living in developing countries (according to the World Bank). In these cultures, men are often considered too good and important for manual labor, so much of the work, mostly agricultural and domestic, is left to women.

I cannot claim to know exactly how this measurement was taken. If I had to make an educated guess, I'd say “labor” is probably measured in either hours of work or the monetary value of the labor performed.

And finally, here are my sources (I would say they are pretty trustworthy):

From Chronowizard on Flickr
"Women constitute around 60–80 percent of the export manufacturing workforce in the developing world, a sector the World Bank expects to shrink significantly during the economic crisis.” (The UN Women website)

“Women are half the world’s population, yet they do two-thirds of the world’s work, earn one-tenth of the world’s income, and own less than one per cent of the world’s property. They are among the poorest of the world’s poor.” Barbara Conable, former President of the World Bank

“Women work two-thirds of the world's working hours, produce half of the world's food, and yet earn only 10% of the world's income and own less than 1% of the world's property.” World Development Indicators, Womankind Worldwide

“Women do about 66% of the world's work in return for less than 5% of its income.” Women’s International Network


  1. Dear Gabriella,
    It is such an inspiration to see young women like yourself taking a stand against the injustices committed against our gender. As a woman who has been held the torch for these issues in my own community I can tell you that every little bit of light helps and makes a difference. Thank you;)

    Perhaps there is a collaboration here. I run an all woman's theatre company in Philadelphia. We created an original work called The Orphan Tree which primarily deals with the inequalities women and girls face throughout the world. Let's dialogue about how we can work towards spreading this information.
    Hannah Tsapatoris MacLeod
    Founder/Producing Artistic Director
    Naked Feet Theatrical Productions

  2. Wow! What a great video and cause. You've inspired me to do something. Thank you for all you are doing to raise awareness.

    Darcie Newton
    Mother of 2 Girls who cries every time she sees your video

  3. Gabriella, thanks for taking this cause on as your own. Impressive creativity and ambition. We're working toward the same end at 10x10!

  4. thanks a lot for sharing and standing up for women rights....

  5. Speaking as a man: I think the 66% figure is, if anything,too low. Women today still do the vast majority of domestic work (within households.) This is vital and underappreciated work, and men in general do not do their share of it. Some of us are trying to change that, but such change comes slowly.

  6. Wonderful blog!!!! This was such a moving movie.
    I am so proud of the knowledge you are spreading and the efforts you are making for girls throughout the world!!!

  7. Gabriella - I love your blog and video & am inspired by your passion and creativity. You make some very valid points. And of course you are right about the amount of manual labor by women in the developing world. Much agriculture is also done by women. I have just one "bone" to pick - when you say that most in the West don't think of women doing most of the work because of the traditional idea that women "stay at home" - as if staying at home to nurture,train and care for young children and to provide a habitable and safe home is not valid and vital work. I'm not sure of the statistics in USA but I know in Australia that even when women are in the workforce they are often still doing the lion's share of domestic work. Keep doing the fantastic job you are doing in speaking up for women and girls.

  8. Hi Gabriella.

    Thank you.

    Here's another project happening that would probably love to support this, as they are collecting a bank of projects done for women and children: (look in the section"service").

    I wish you the best of luck,


  9. One of the most POWERFUL videos on this subject. I was moved to tears and will do my best to spread the word about the work you are doing to make change happen! Thank-you!

  10. You keep writing girl!

  11. Thank you so much for making this video and pursuing this cause. You are an inspiration. And yes, it's very hard for people to believe that statistic. And it is even harder for them to understand that women in the U.S. only make 77% on average what men doing the SAME jobs do. If a woman is not white, that percentage decreases dramatically. (That number is from the 2010 US Census Data.)

    Also, there is some truth to society victim-blaming women for this in ways like saying they "chose" that fate instead of "choosing" to work. What's really going on though, is that it is easier to believe that a woman could bring such a fate on herself rather than to believe that our world is still so unjust. If they believe that something so unjust could systematically and globally happen, then it forces them to believe that such injustice could also potentially happen to themselves. Just a thought.

    Keep up the good work!

  12. This is excellent!! I look forward to staying abreast of your developments. I'm addressing similar problems from slightly different angles, and am confident that as we and others others with similar passions continue in our efforts, we WILL overcome ALL injustices. Thank you for your inspiring creation and efforts.

  13. This was a lovely and inspiring piece of work. I am in the process of adopting 2 girls from a county where every one of the horrors you described happens to women everyday. I hope that they grow up to be young women like you, who can go back to their home country and make a difference for others. From a technical point of view, I am a video technology teacher at a high school and I plan to show your video to my students. It was simple, creative, and effective. Thank you for your voice and your work.
    Carrie at "Amazing Grace and a Safe Haven"

  14. A friend just shared your video because he knew that I'd say "right on!" I am board chair of Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation and we provide access to education to indigenous women in Chiapas, Mexico. The poverty there among indigenous is abject. Education is the key. In our six years of operation, we have seen girls and women bloom. Please see our website at And if you'd like to contact me, please do so at
    Thank you for that video. People need to know.

  15. Thank you for this wondeful and moving piece about the horrible injustice that sometimes exists in our world. I am a father of a girl, the husband of a woman, and the brother of a woman; I am blessed that all of them live in a place where this type of injustice is much less the norm. But your reminder of what "is" touched me, and I'm off to make a donation in honor of your efforts! I guess in a way, this time YOU are the girl...

  16. I can easily believe this statistic. Work that is unpaid, repetitive and concerned with the basic needs and comforts of life is usually done by women, regardless of where they are located and whether or not they work an outside paying job. And while I believe that staying home and caring for one's own children and household is incredibly valuable and necessary, any one who has ever done it will tell you that it is hard work with incredibly long hours. So if that statistic didn't include home working hours (and I'm willing to believe that it doesn't), then the percentages should be even more skewed than that. One more reason to value men so highly that they will be men and will do any work necessary to support themselves and their families and to value women so highly that they are free to be women.

  17. Hence a woman's work is never done