The World Bank says global pace of reforms for gender inclusiveness has slumped to a 20-year low, constituting a potential impediment to economic growth at a critical time for the global economy.
In its Women, Business and the Law report, the global lender stated that the “index rose just half a point to 77.1—indicating women, on average, enjoy barely 77 percent of the legal rights that men do.”
At the current pace of reform, in many countries a woman entering the workforce today will retire before she will be able to gain the same rights as men, the report notes.
According to Chief Economist for the World Bank Indermit Gill, “At a time when global economic growth is slowing, all countries need to mobilize their full productive capacity to confront the confluence of crises besetting them.
“Governments can’t afford to sideline as much as half of their population. Denying equal rights to women across much of the world is not just unfair to women; it is a barrier to countries’ ability to promote green, resilient, and inclusive development.”
Women, Business and the Law 2023 assesses 190 countries’ laws and regulations in eight areas related to women’s economic participation—mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets, and pensions.
Nearly 2.4 billion women of working age globally still do not have the same rights as men.
Closing the gender employment gap could raise long-term GDP per capita by nearly 20% on average across countries. Studies estimate global economic gains of $5-6 trillion if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men do.