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2.4 billion women don’t have same economic rights as men, says World Bank

By From Collins Olayinka, Abuja
08 March 2022   |   2:42 am
About 2.4 billion women of working age do not have equal economic opportunity and 178 countries maintain legal barriers that prevent their full economic participation, the World Bank’s Women, Business

World Bank

About 2.4 billion women of working age do not have equal economic opportunity and 178 countries maintain legal barriers that prevent their full economic participation, the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2022 report has said.
    
The report also said that in 86 countries, women face some forms of job restriction and 95 countries do not guarantee equal pay for equal work.

     
The report held that globally, women still have only three-quarters of the legal rights afforded to men— an aggregate score of 76.5 out of a possible 100, which denotes complete legal parity, adding, however, that despite the disproportionate effect on women’s lives and livelihood from the global pandemic, 23 countries reformed their laws in 2021 to take much-needed steps towards advancing women’s economic inclusion, according to the report.
   
World Bank Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships, Mari Pangestu, noted: “While progress has been made, the gap between men’s and women’s expected lifetime earnings globally is US$172 trillion – nearly two times the world’s yearly GDP.  As we move forward to achieve green, resilient and inclusive development, governments need to accelerate the pace of legal reforms so that women can realise their full potential and benefit fully and equally.”
      
Women, Business and the Law 2022 measures laws and regulations across 190 countries in eight areas impacting women’s economic participation – mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets, and pensions. 
     
The data offer objective and measurable benchmarks for global progress toward gender equality. Just 12 countries, all part of the OECD, have legal gender parity.
      
New this year is a 95-country pilot survey 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 implemented is also included, highlighting the difference between laws on the books 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, though they continue to lag behind other parts of the world overall.
     
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank Group, Carmen Reinhart, said: “Women cannot achieve equality in the workplace if they are on an unequal footing at home. That means levelling the playing field and ensuring that having children doesn’t mean women are excluded from full participation in the economy and realizing their hopes and ambitions.”
    
Across the world, 118 economies guarantee 14 weeks of paid leave for mothers. More than half (114) of the economies measured mandate paid leave for fathers, but the median duration is just one week.
    
In sub-Saharan Africa, the report noted that there is a wide range of performance on the Women, Business and the Law index, ranging from 89.4 in Mauritius to 29.4 in Sudan.
   
It added that the region implemented comprehensive reforms, achieving the second-highest improvement in the index last year.

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