When the coronavirus was first declared a global pandemic, we knew the crisis was going to harshly exploit an unequal world. How would 1 in 3 people wash their hands when they don’t have access to clean water? How would 2 billion people in the informal economy quarantine if it meant losing income to feed their families? Would women—70 percent of the world’s health care workers—be able to access the personal protective equipment they need to save lives?
When a crisis like COVID-19 hits, poor and marginalized communities—both here in the US and around the world—suffer the worst effects. Now the virus has exposed and exacerbated these long-standing inequalities. Families already struggling have been pushed to the brink and are facing even greater rates of poverty and hunger.
Oxfam’s mission is to fight inequality to end poverty and injustice. With the help of our people like you, we’ve been responding to the COVID-19 crisis by providing immediate humanitarian assistance, advocating for a fair recovery through our work to make sure everyone has free and fair access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, and calling on our leaders to tackle the systemic inequalities worsened by the pandemic. Everyone deserves the opportunity to thrive, not just survive.
Our COVID-19 relief efforts and how you can help
Oxfam is meeting the challenges of the pandemic by protecting and advocating for the most vulnerable people around the globe, including here in the US.
With the help of people like you, we are working with local communities, partners, and women-led organizations in more than 60 countries to deliver lifesaving humanitarian aid to help slow the spread of the virus and promote access to vaccines. In 2020, we reached more than 14 million people around the world—54 percent of them women.
This work includes partnering with local organizations to provide water, food assistance, and hygiene items like soap as well as conducting public health campaigns, as well as meeting other urgent needs of vulnerable communities—especially people facing conflict, displacement, and hunger.
Advocating for a People's Vaccine to end the COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 anywhere is COVID-19 everywhere. While we remain optimistic in our fight against the coronavirus here in the US, the rest of the world is still experiencing immense suffering. In some low- and middle-income countries, less than 1 percent of the population is vaccinated.
To end this pandemic, we need a People’s Vaccine: a patent-free, mass-produced, and fairly distributed vaccine available free of charge to everyone, rich and poor alike. Oxfam is a member of the People’s Vaccine Alliance coalition of organizations and activists united under a common aim of campaigning for a People’s Vaccine for COVID-19.
Our COVID-19 recovery efforts for long-term change
As we continue to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, it is vital that our recovery is fair. The crisis caused by the virus has exacerbated long-standing inequality both in the US and around the world. We must now work toward systemic change and reverse the disproportionate impacts of COVID on women and marginalized communities. By addressing the root causes of inequality, we can begin to unrig the systems that perpetuate it. This means strengthening workers’ rights, investing in the care industry, and reimagining our tax systems so that corporations and the very rich start paying their fair share. It’s time to tackle the systemic inequalities that have been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We advocate for dignified, green jobs with fair compensation, safe working conditions, access to unions, and paid leave for all. As COVID-19 made all these problems worse, workers are feeling the anxiety acutely – and employers are taking advantage of the precarity. Wages are stagnant as CEO pay is up; workers face uncertain schedules, scant benefits, and workplace hazards. There is STILL no mandate for employers to protect workers from the virus in the workplace.
We fight for continued support for the care industry, including funding to expand access to child care and home and community-based care, and to make child care more affordable to low-income families, alongside increased pay, better benefits, and access to unions for care workers. Our leaders must start treating care as essential. We cannot achieve equitable recovery from the pandemic without a strong and thriving child care industry.
We are demanding that power be shifted away from companies and back to workers and consumers, through increased wages, rights and worker protections and increased taxes on companies and the rich including an end to subsidies for fossil fuel companies. Billionaires have profited off of the pandemic, continuing to amass wealth amidst global suffering. Right now, the rules are rigged in favor of the wealthy. It’s time to reimagine our tax system so that corporations and the very rich can pay their fair share and we can begin to even the playing field.
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