International Women’s Day breathes new life into the 1% meme

I’m told that CNN repeated this old thing today, though I can’t find it on their site. Here is’s version, though:

[women] perform 66 percent of the world’s work, produce 50 percent of the food, but earn 10 percent of the income and own less than 1 percent of the world’s property.

Long story short: it’s not true. I’ve dragged this out for more than a year now, since last International Women’s Day (#IWD). The most recent debunking, with links to the others, is here.

This year you could find it on pages put up for IWD by groups such as Opportunity International and Volunteer International — and distributed this from Cosmopolitan UK:

There’s lots of gender inequality. Women bear a disproportionate share of the burden from the world’s overall inequality. That means reducing overall inequality will usually help poor women especially, and addressing gender inequality will often reduce overall inequality.

I really don’t want to be the “gender inequality isn’t that bad” blogger. But the the 1% thing is really very factually wrong, and gender inequality in fact isn’t that bad. Before you think this means I’m not really down with feminism, just consider what this meme says about generations of feminists and all they’ve accomplished when it carelessly exaggerates the state of women’s oppression.

For some sourced statistics on women and gender inequality put up for the day, here’s a reasonable list from CNN. (CNN also ran a good Op-Ed from Stephanie Coontz, drawing from the symposium she put together for the Council on Contemporary Families, which I described the other day.)

On the plus side of the anti-meme effort, my pages on this do draw a lot searchers when this hits the news (a lot for this blog, anyway). There were a few hundred hits on the meme pages today, including ones drawn by these search terms, helpfully reported to me by WordPress, my host:

  • do women work two thirds of all hours?
  • worlds wealth women
  • inequality facts women global 2011
  • women work two thirds of working hours 10% of income
  • women own less than 1 of the world’s property
  • of the world’s income women only reiceve 10%
  • women own less than 1% world property
  • “united nations” women are half the world’s population, working two thirds of the world’s working hours
  • international womens day meme
  • women constitute half the world’s population perform nearly two thirds
  • how much of the world’s wealth is owned by women
  • women work two thirds of working hours 10% of income meme
  • women own 1% of the world’s property
  • 1% meme
  • women are half the worlds population working two thirds
  • women are half the world’s population working two thirds of the world’s working hours
  • woman two thirds of the workforce own percent property
  • what percentage of property is owned by women
  • women quote population hours income
  • how much of the worlds wealth is owned by women
  • women are half the population, working two thirds
  • women “10% of the worlds income”
  • do women own less than 1% of the worlds property
  • women are half the world’s population working two thirds of the worlds working hours receiving of the world income and owning less than 1 percent of the world property
  • women are half the worlds population. working two thirds of the worlds working hours.
  • meme international women’s day
  • women are half the population work two thirds working hours
  • women own 1 of property reference
  • women make up 50% of the population, but own just 1% of the world’s wealth
  • why work women constitute half the worlds population, perform nearly two thirds of it’s work hours
  • women own 1% of wealth
  • women 1% property false
  • women property report 1%
  • sfeminism stattisc about women
  • feminist statistics 2011
  • percentage of the world’s wealth owned by women
  • women day own one percent two thirds work

13 thoughts on “International Women’s Day breathes new life into the 1% meme

  1. I mean, I love debunking a common misconception as much as the next guy, and I think you’ve done a good job with it, but whether women own more than 1% seems sort of irrelevant. Imagine they owned 2%. Or even 5%. That would make the 1% myth entirely incorrect, but would still imply extreme gender inequality in wealth. Even if it were as high as 30% (seems like a more reasonable estimate), it would still imply that men own more than twice as much per capita than women. Debunking the myth is important, but understanding the extent of gender inequality is also important


    1. That would still not show there is sexism though. If you look at poverty and earnings in the west, men make up the extremes of both, which is likely because men take more risks and are less likely to play it safe, which could be because there are structural differences in the frontal lobe from the effect of testosterone.


    1. Ron, both the original article and your short-sighted quotation of it are irresponsible, insulting and inflammatory. See, any moron can play word games.


      1. Inflammatory? In 2012, understandable, but irrelevant: fire purifies, burning off the slag, revealing Truth.

        Insulting? How so, and to whom?

        Irresponsible? How so? (I *can* be persuaded by rational argument.)


  2. Hello Philip, u are damn right. Interestingly we share the same orientation: A sociologist with emphasis in gender studies and rual development.


  3. I believe in a lot of these statistics. Outside of the western world, culture serves as a huge barrier for women. Just think of Indian and China have over 2 billion of the earth’s total polulation, and both of their traditional cultures that favors men over women. In parts of Africa, the dowry system and polygamy prevents women from being anything more than a few cows and a burden that a man must fix (I have seen this first hand). Of course there are exceptions, but the world is much larger than the United Kingdom and the western world. There has been a lot of progress, but there is still need for improvement.


Comments welcome (may be moderated)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s