Many Governments Take Steps to Improve Women’s Economic Inclusion, Although Legal Barriers Remain Widespread – WORLD BANK

Human Rights/Development – Women’s Economic Inclusion

Many Governments Take Steps to Improve Women’s Economic Inclusion, Although Legal Barriers Remain Widespread
WORLD BANK PRESS RELEASE
WASHINGTON, March 29, 2018 – Governments in 65 economies took steps to improve women’s economic inclusion, enacting 87 legal reforms in the past two years, says the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and Law 2018 report, released today.

However, women continue to face widespread barriers, entrenched in laws, that keep them out of jobs and prevent them from owning a business by restricting their access to credit or control over marital property, says the biennial report, which now monitors 189 economies. For example, it finds that in 104 economies women are barred from working at night or in certain jobs in many areas, including manufacturing, construction, energy, agriculture, water and transportation. This negatively affects the choices of more than 2.7 billion women.

Now in its 5th edition, the report introduces, for the first time, a scoring system of 0 to 100, to better inform the reform agenda. Scores are assigned to every monitored economy on each of the report’s seven indicators: accessing institutions, using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, going to court, building credit, and protecting women from violence.

While no economy gets the perfect score of 100 in all seven indicators, economies that perform well across the indicators include the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Spain. OECD high-income economies generally have the highest average score across most indicators.
Protecting women against violence, through laws against domestic violence and sexual harassment at work or in educational facilities, remains an area where much work is needed. Of the 189 economies examined, 45 do not have laws on domestic violence and 59 do not have laws against sexual harassment in employment. Overall, 21 economies receive a score of 0 in the protecting women from violence indicator. Many of these economies are located in Sub-Saharan Africa and in the Middle East and North Africa.

Although the vast majority of the economies monitored have laws establishing non-discrimination in employment based on gender, only 76 mandate equal remuneration for work of equal value and 37 economies have no laws protecting pregnant workers from dismissal…

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Women, Business and the Law
World Bank Group
2018 :: 187 pages
FOREWORD
No economy can grow to its full potential unless both women and men participate fully. As half the world’s population, women have an equal role in driving economic growth.

Women, Business and the Law 2018 is the fifth edition in a series of biennial reports measuring the legal obstacles to women who engage in economic activity around the world. Since the World Bank started this study a decade ago, our understanding has increased about how laws influence women’s decisions to start and run businesses or get jobs.

The analysis draws on newly-collected data across seven indicators: accessing institutions, using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, going to court, building credit, and protecting women from violence. The study expands coverage to 189 economies around the world.

The data show the challenge many women face in the quest for economic opportunity. One hundred and four economies still prevent women from working in certain jobs, simply because they are women. In 59 economies there are no laws on sexual harassment in the workplace. And in 18 economies, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working.

Social media movements…have highlighted the prevalence of sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. But in many places, women still have no legal recourse. And every day we learn about industries that pay women less than men for doing the same work.

What actions can be taken to increase economic opportunity for women? How can governments improve labor market participation by their female citizens? Hard data helps answer these questions.

By informing politicians about the legal obstacles to women’s economic opportunities, Women, Business and the Law makes a contribution towards promoting gender equality. The study celebrates the progress that has been made while emphasizing the work that remains to ensure equality of opportunity.