A graphic image used by Oxfam in social media campaigns has come under scrutiny from The Washington Post this week (see the whole article here). 

The stats stated in the image are shocking, but are they right? Probably not.

The article reveals that "most of this factoid — the 66 percent of work, 10 percent of income and 1 percent of property — dates back to some very fuzzy research from the late 1970s". Clearly a lot has changed since then, and it's time we not only updated our numbers, but also how we go about collecting them. 

Duncan Green wrote an interesting blog on the same topic back in 2010 that questions the value and the truth of the ''70% of the world's poor are women' factoid often used in our circles. And in 2014, Cheryl Doss, a feminist economist from Yale, argued that we need to use more accurate alternative to the contested 'women own 2% of the world's farmland' stat when talking about gender inequalities. 

Simple narratives are often used to invoke outrage and drive impact in campaigning, but are we doing ourselves, and the people we work with, a disservice when we get the facts wrong? What can we do to ensure we're painting a truer picture? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

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