About  
 

UNICEF Ireland wants to support you to start a global movement for change beginning in our own communities. Stay connected online with other activists like you. 

Contact
 

If you would like more information, getting involved or posting a blog about your activism, please email us at itsaboutus@unicef.ie

Thanks to our Supporters
 

Irish Aid for supporting youth activism within UNICEF Ireland. 

 LEARN ABOUT 

 REDUCED INEQUALITIES 

REDUCED INEQUALITIES -  In this lesson students will learn and discuss the global and local levels of inequality and the effects and forms these inequalities have on societies and cultures. 

YOU WILL NEED

Prior Learning

Knowledge and understanding of:

●    The Convention on the Rights of the Child

●    The Sustainable Development Goals

 

Vocabulary:

Racism- prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior

Reverse Racism -Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism on the basis of race directed against a member of a dominant or privileged racial group.

Privilege -a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group.

Xenophobia-dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries.

Ableism- discrimination in favour of able-bodied people.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  1. Gain a knowledge of the level of privilege that exists at global level and within your own communities.

  2. Create a safe place to discuss and how to overcome issues of racism, ableism, sexism and other prejudices you see in your school or community.

  3. Learn how you can advocate for individuals who are less fortunate and promote equality for all.

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS

BACKGROUND RESOURCES

Please note: The topics covered in this workshop need to be handled sensitively and with consideration of participants’ backgrounds and personal experiences. Inform participants of the topic you will be discussing a few days beforehand to allow them time to discuss any of their concerns with you and to provide alternatives for students who wish to be excused from the discussion. Devise a set of ground rules with your group, to ensure safe and respectful discussions.

CONTEXT

Reduce structural inequalities based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion or socio-economic standings in societies.

 

Targets:

  • By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin,    religion or economic or other status.

  • Ensure equal opportunity and reduce inequalities of outcome, including by eliminating discriminatory laws, policies and practices and promoting appropriate legislation, policies and action in this regard.

  • By 2030, progressively achieve and sustain income growth of the bottom 40 percent of the population at a rate higher than the national average.

DISCUSSION

There are many different types of inequality. In this workshop we will look at global wealth inequality and social inequality.  Global wealth inequality means that too much of the world's wealth is held by too few people. Oxfam's latest wealth report shows that wealth is increasingly concentrating in the hands of a few. This gives certain individuals significant power over how the world is run.  According to Oxfam 26 people own the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity - 3.8 billion people.  It also revealed that the wealth of billionaires is on the rise. "The wealth of the world's billionaires increased $2.5 billion a day last year.... while almost half of humanity is still living on less than $5.50 a day".

 

Wealth inequality at this level has consequences not only for democracy but the basic health and welfare of people and the planet.  

There are a number of factors that drive inequality. 

Geography: Where you live impacts on the level of wealth you might have. Ireland for example is a wealthy country, with public investment in education, health care and social protection.  The Irish economy is performing well and as a consequence there is low unemployment. #MappingPrejudice

Wage disparity: The real value of the minimum wage has decreased significantly, while CEO's wages have increased dramatically in 1965 the average CEO to worker pay gap was 20 to 1, today it is 344 times the wage of the average worker. In 2017 McDonald’s boss Steve Easterbrook earned $21.7m while the McDonald’s workers earned a median wage of just $7,017 – a CEO to worker pay ratio of 3,101 to one. The average Walmart worker earned $19,177 in 2017 while CEO Doug McMillon took home $22.8m – a ratio of 1,188 to one. (The Guardian)  #RaisetheWage

Political inequality: powerful interests to gain and keep control over government decision-making. For example, instead of regulating industries to protect the public interest, regulators use their agencies to help industry increase profits, irrespective of the public interest. #WorkingfortheFew 

Here is an example of how this happens in the United States. 

Tax evasion, avoidance & regressive tax systems: Wealthy individuals and companies regularly find ways (tax loopholes) to avoid paying taxes on their profits. A regressive tax: is one that takes a higher percentage of income from the low- income earner than from the high-income earner. They tend to be indirect and are based upon the purchase of goods and services and not income.

EFA_tax_justice_v1.9_EN_A3.jpeg

ACTIVITY 1 

ACTIVITY 1 

Can You Name the Top 10 - Divide students in to groups and ask them to come up with a list of the top ten wealthiest individuals on the planet and include what generates most of their wealth. Ask them to list five ways in which these individuals can influence the world. 

Capture.JPG

Can You Name the Top 10

Capture.JPG

ACTIVITY 2

How wealthy are you or do you want to be?  Ask students to go online to the website givewhatwecan.org , ask them to either guess their families income and assets or to fill in what they would like to earn in the future. Discuss afterwards the results and whether people would be willing to take less if it meant others had more. 

DISCUSSION

Irish Proclamation

"The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past."

Has Ireland fulfilled it's pledge ..."to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation, ...cherishing all the children of the nation equally." or do we have a nation that sees social inequality rising? 

Social inequality is when certain people receive opportunities or benefits based on who they are or their social background. For example if your parents are wealthy or part of a certain social class, chances are you will get better healthcare and a better education.  Other factors can burden you and make your chances of social benefits harder to achieve. For example discrimination because of your gender, race or ethnicity can hurt your chances of getting a job, pay rise or renting a home. Factors such as unemployment, addiction or mental health issues can create even greater burdens to achieving equal opportunities in society. 

Social Inequality in Ireland

  • The level of income inequality in Ireland is one of the worst in the EU.

  • The wealthiest 10% in Ireland own about 40% of the country's wealth.

  • At the moment, the number of homeless people living in Ireland is the highest that it has ever been, at over 7,700.

  • One third of the homeless population, about 2,700 people, are children.

  • In Dublin alone, 79 families became homeless in May of this year.

The CSO reported this year that:

  • 790,000 people in Ireland are currently living in poverty.

  • 105,000 of those are actually employed but still struggle to get by.

  • 213,000 kids are at risk of falling into poverty

  • 414,000 kids are experiencing deprivation due to their circumstances.

  • Since 2010, the rate of people falling into poverty in Ireland has increased, as well as the number of people trapped in long term poverty.

 

Privilege Walk

Have the class or group of students stand in a line, at an equal standing with one-another. Download the Profiles and Questions document. Cut up and hand out profiles to participants.  Profiles enable students not to rely on their personal and private circumstances. Note* Please note any circumstances students might be facing and potential issues that might come up to assess the appropriateness of doing this with your group.

Discussion

After you have completed the statements and students have moved backwards and forwards, ask them to reflect on their positions. Questions worth asking include:

  1. Do you feel you had any control of your circumstance?

  2. Do you feel your position at the front or the back was or could be influenced by you?

  3. Would you be willing to step back if it meant others could step forward?

ACTIVITY 3

ACTIVITY 2 

Trash Can Inequalities

Place a bin at the front of the room. Give every individual a piece of paper. Tell them to make a ball with the first piece of paper. Tell the group that those who can throw the ball into the trash can achieve the highest level of wealth.

Discussion:

Who was successful in throwing the paper into the trash can? Was it easier for some people in the room to make the shot into the bin? Did it matter more where the bin was or where you were sitting in the room?

How does this relate to your own society and communities? In Ireland, how does your privilege affect your everyday life and your future? The standing of where an individual is in society, based on gender, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic background matters. For every society, there needs to be a discussion on whether it’s easier or more beneficial to move the bin or the standing of the individuals.

What does the bin or where you're seated represent?

Homework:

Go to dollarstreet and explore what life is like for children your age in each continent. 

 
 
 

OTHER RESOURCES

Assumptions, stereotypes and prejudice

Diversity Toolkit: A Guide to Discussing Identity, Power and Privilege

Discrimination

                                                            

 

TAKE ACTION

 

Raising awareness: Put up posters or flyers to counteract the subtle racism that is seen daily around your school campus.

Start a Global Issues Club!

Hold a screening of a film, like "Crash"- 2001,  that tackles the issues of inequality.

A club on campus under the global issues umbrella is a way for students to come together and share dialogue on the issues of racism, sexism, ableism, ageism and religion. Talking about these issues and having a safe space on your school campus to do so is important.

Getting a teacher or school administration is key to having a successful platform at your school.

Have a social media take-over and have people use a hashtag like#lovenothate to counteract the problems young people face daily.

Whole School Social Justice Week

ART
Look at how different communities in Ireland use art to express themselves and highlight inequality
BIOLOGY
Study the physical effects that inequality can have on the people it affects
BUSINESS
Research the impact that inequality can have on businesses, and also how they help contribute to the problem
CSPE
Research Ireland's track record when it come to tackling inequality and how it could be improved in the future
ENGLISH
Read works by authors that have come from marginalized communities, and explore the ways literacy can improve people's lives.
GEOGRAPHY
Examine which parts of the country are most effected by inequality, and what similarities they have.
History
Have a look at how we have confronted inequality in the past and how we might tackle the current problems we face.
HOME ECONOMICS
Compare the difference between the food that people in deprived areas eat vs the food eaten in wealthier areas, and the impact that this difference has.
MATHS
Research some of the statistics and studies about inequality in Ireland.
RELIGION
Watch the TED talk given by Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz on the price of inequality
SCIENCE
Think about the kind of impacts that inequality can have on scientific advancements and research
SPHE
Use UNICEF’s Inequality workshop to examine how inequality works and the impact it has on those people it effects
Show More

Caitlin Banke is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from Menlo College and will be concluding her Masters Degree from Trinity College Dublin in International Peace Studies in November 2018. Caitlin has focused her studies and work around women and children's issues.

Kristen O'Connell has a Bachelor’s degree from Miami University and will be concluding her Masters Degree from Trinity College Dublin in International Peace Studies in November 2018. Originally from New Jersey in the United States, Kristen has a background in business and has a keen knowledge in UN and Economic policy.