Xinhua, United Nations : The richest 1 percent of the world population owns about 40 percent of the world’s assets, while the bottom half owns no more than 1 percent, said a UN report released Wednesday, calling for a shift to more inclusive growth patterns. “Inequalities on today’s levels are unjust in both developing and developed countries … and they also impede human progress,” said Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), at the release. “The report explores the causes and consequences of the inequalities which divide us — within and between countries — and argues that there is nothing inevitable about growing inequality,” said Clark. The report, which is entitled Humanity Divided: Confronting Inequality in Developing Countries, said that a significant majority of households in developing countries — more than 75 percent of the world population — are living today in societies where income is more unequally distributed than it was in the 1990s. High inequality undermines development by hindering economic progress, weakening democratic life, and threatening social cohesion, it said, calling for a shift to more inclusive growth patterns, supported by redistributive polices and changes in social norms. On the health and development of women, the report said that despite overall declines in maternal mortality in the majority of developing countries, women in rural areas are still up to three times more likely to die while giving birth than women living in urban centers, noting that women remain disproportionately represented in employment and still earn much less than men. Besides, evidence from developing countries shows that children in the lowest wealth quintiles were up to three times more likely to die before five than children born in the highest wealth quintiles in some regions. “It is only through the action and voices of many that we will be able to curb one of the greatest moral and practical challenges of our times: the quest for equality, shared prosperity, and human well-being,” Clark said.