Women are not legally and economically equal with men, says World Bank report

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Posted: Friday, March 4, 2022. 9:33 PM CST.

By Aaron Humes: Despite the title of Beyonce’s 2011 song, Girls Don’t Rule the World, According to the World Bank.

A new report reveals that globally, women have barely three-quarters of the legal rights granted to men, and an estimated 2.4 billion working-age women do not have the same economic opportunities. In at least 178 countries, legal barriers prevent full economic participation; in 86 countries women are not allowed to do certain jobs, and in 95 countries there is no guarantee of equal pay for equal work.

The World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2022 report, however, notes that despite the disproportionate effect on women’s lives and livelihoods of the global pandemic, 23 countries reformed their laws in 2021 to take much-needed steps to advance the economic inclusion of women.

“Although progress has been made, the gap between the expected incomes of men and women around the world is $172 trillion, nearly twice the annual global GDP,” said Mari Pangestu, Chief Executive Officer. development policy and partnerships at the World Bank. “As we move towards green, resilient and inclusive development, governments must accelerate the pace of legal reforms so that women can realize their full potential and benefit fully and equitably.

Women, Business and the Law 2022 measures the laws and regulations of 190 countries in eight areas impacting women’s economic participation: mobility, workplace, earnings, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets and pensions. The data provides objective and measurable benchmarks for global progress towards gender equality. Only 12 countries, all members of the OECD, have legal gender parity. New this year is a pilot survey in 95 countries of laws governing childcare – a critical area where support is needed for women to succeed in paid employment. A pilot analysis of how laws affecting women’s economic empowerment are actually implemented is also included, highlighting the difference between existing laws and the reality experienced by women.

The Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa regions showed the largest improvements in the WBL Index in 2021, although they continue to lag behind other other parts of the world as a whole. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the parity index was less than three quarters of men’s legal rights. Two of the region’s 32 economies have adopted reforms in the past year. Argentina has explicitly counted periods of absence for child care in retirement benefits. Colombia has become the first country in Latin America to introduce paid parental leave, aimed at reducing discrimination against women in the workplace. Only half of the economies in the region guarantee paid leave for fathers.


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