The latest World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law index reveals discriminatory laws still prevent women from fulfilling their potential, undermining their economic security by limiting their ability to work and pursue a career in every region of the world.
The index, in its sixth year, analysed how laws and regulations affect women’s economic rights in 190 economies and measured indicators such as women’s access to jobs, effective gender discrimination policies and sexual harassment in the workplace.
The indicators captured legal differences faced by men and women and included questions within the following categories: mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets, and pension.
Questions included “Is there legislation on sexual harassment in the workplace?”, “Does the government administer 100% of maternity leave benefits?” and “Are periods of absence due to child care accounted for in pension benefits?”
The eight countries that received a perfect score were Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Sweden and Canada. Iceland and Sweden made it onto the top 10 Global Gender Gap Index Rating for 2020; which assessed nations by how close they are to completely closing the gender pay gap. Australia achieved 100% in all categories, except in pension.
Despite female labour force participation increasing over the last few years, and the wage gap between men and women diminishing, women in the Middle East and North African remains the region with the lowest average scores, having only, on average, half the legal rights of men. Globally, on average, women have just three quarters of the legal rights of men.
Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab believes that “without the equal inclusion of half of the world’s talent, we will not be able to grow our economies for greater shared prosperity.”
Each year, @wb_research analyzes and ranks 190 economies based on how business-friendly (or unfriendly) they are. Go inside the rankings with in the first episode of The Development Podcast: https://t.co/8iN7m0oA2C #WorldBankPodcast pic.twitter.com/a8Flx4roZv
— World Bank (@WorldBank) February 4, 2020
“At the present rate of change, it will take nearly a century to achieve parity, a timeline we simply cannot accept in today’s globalised world, especially among younger generations who hold increasingly progressive views of gender equality,” he said in a statement.
“Legal rights for women are both the right thing to do and good from an economic perspective”, David R. Malpass, President of The World Bank Group, said in the report’s Foreword. “Research shows clearly that reforms and policies that empower women boost economic growth. When women can move more freely, work outside the home and manage assets, they’re more likely to join the workforce and strengthen the economy.”