The big question

Contact asks four UQ researchers: What is the leading cause of global inequality?

Professor Gita Mishra

Professor of Life Course Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Director of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

“The leading cause of global inequality is lack of access to education for all women. Globally, they make up two-thirds of the population who are illiterate. Education empowers women to deal with adversity in life. Educated women can improve the health and economic wellbeing of their family and local community.”

Dr Thilak Mallawaarachchi

Principal Research Fellow, Risk and Sustainable Management Group

“Inequality – deprived needs and unfulfilled capabilities of the vulnerable – has risen lately. Financial sector over-expansion coupled with weak social policies are some likely causes. Without the skills to remain useful, rapid technological change could leave people behind, depriving them of opportunities to fulfil their needs and aspirations, and creating a massive underclass.”

Professor Chris Greig

Director, UQ Energy Initiative Director, Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering Innovation

“Innovation is the heart of enduring prosperity. Nations, communities and organisations that have consistently fostered free enterprise and rewarded innovation over sustained periods have seen the livelihoods of people thrive. Those who have shunned free enterprise and failed to value innovation have stagnated. Global inequality exists because these fundamental differences have prevailed over generations.”

Professor Janeen Baxter

Director, Life Course Centre

“Global inequality exists between nations as well as between individuals and groups within countries. The causes are related, but not identical, and result from historical processes including wars, industrialisation and colonisation, as well as current arrangements such as trade, financial systems and global politics. Inequalities between countries influence within-country access to resources and are shaped by internal structures and institutions.”