A new World Bank and IFC report finds legal and regulatory barriers to women’s economic inclusion have decreased over the past 50 years globally, but many laws still hinder women’s participation in the economy. Laws restricting women’s economic activity are currently most prevalent in the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
The third in a series, Women, Business and the Law 2014: Removing Restrictions to Enhance Gender Equality monitors regulations affecting women entrepreneurs and employees in 143 economies. This edition highlights reforms carried out over the past two years, examines the evolution of women’s property rights and legal decision making ability since 1960 and expands coverage to examine legal protections addressing violence against women.
“The ideal of equality before the law and equality of economic opportunity isn’t just wise social policy: It’s smart economic policy,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “When women and men participate in economic life on an equal footing, they can contribute their energies to building a more cohesive society and a more resilient economy. The surest way to help enrich the lives of families, communities and economies is to allow every individual to live up to her or his fullest creative potential.”
“Our latest edition of Women, Business and the Law shows that many societies have made progress, gradually moving to dismantle ingrained forms of discrimination against women,” said Kim. “Yet a great deal remains to be done.”