Gender Equality

The Legal Gender Gap Is Closing, Yet Full Equality Decades Away

The World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2023 report is a comprehensive assessment of laws and regulations governing women’s economic participation in 190 economies around the world. The report tracks progress towards legal gender parity in eight key areas: Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension. 

Over the past five decades, the report shows that there has been progress in all eight areas, with the average Women, Business and the Law score improving by about two-thirds during this time. However, globally, women still only enjoy 77 percent of the legal rights that men do. The areas of mobility and entrepreneurship are leading the way in terms of gender equality scores, while the most significant improvements have been made in previously lagging areas such as workplace and assets.

Only 14 economies have achieved legal gender parity. World Bank estimates show that at the current pace of reform, it will take at least 50 more years to approach gender equality globally, highlighting the urgent need for continued and more rapid progress. The World Bank said that ‘This means that millions of young women entering the workforce today will have to wait until retirement—many even longer—before they get equal rights’.

Details on the different categories tracked by the report: 

  • Mobility – Examines constraints on freedom of movement 
  • Workplace – Analyzes laws affecting women’s decisions to work 
  • Pay – Measures laws and regulations affecting women’s pay 
  • Marriage – Assesses legal constraints related to marriage 
  • Parenthood – Examines laws affecting women’s work after having children 
  • Assets – Considers gender differences in property and inheritance 
  • Pension – Assesses laws affecting the size of a woman’s pension 
  • Entrepreneurship – Analyzes constraints on women’s starting and running businesses

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