Gender equality remains a distant goal, regrets the World Bank

Economic equality between men and women remains a very distant goal and no country can boast of having achieved it, even among advanced economies, according to the latest edition of the World Bank (WB) report on Women, Business and the Law (WBL).

For the latest edition of the WBL, the WB has chosen to evolve its criteria, in order to focus as much on existing laws as on their real application and on the opinion of experts on daily reality, a broader approach than the previous versions, which were only based on the evolution of the law on the subject in each country.

And this new approach paints a more negative portrait than in previous years regarding the question of economic equality, since it shows that inequalities are in reality much more pronounced than previous reports suggested.

Worse, while from a purely legal perspective a number of countries, particularly among advanced economies, appeared to be close to or had achieved equality, consideration of law enforcement and Expert opinion paints a more nuanced picture, which shows that even in these countries, there is still a long way to go.

Thus, while in 2022, before the new criteria were taken into account, women had on average 77% of the rights that men enjoy around the world, with strong geographical disparities, the new report estimates that they do not have in reality only 64% of the legal protections available to men.

“Across the globe, discriminatory laws and practices prevent [les femmes] to work or create businesses in the same way as men,” lamented the WB’s chief economist, Indermit Gill, quoted in the report.

Among the examples highlighted, the question of equality in terms of remuneration: the Bank emphasizes that although legislation to this effect exists in 98 countries in the world, only 35 have put in place the necessary measures to ensure the real implementation of this obligation, i.e. less than 20% of countries in the world.

As a result, the WB estimates that on average women earn 7.7 dollars when men receive ten.

More broadly, although women have 77% of the same rights as men, from a legislative point of view, countries have put in place on average less than 40% of the measures necessary for the effective application of these rights.

Major economic impact

“It is more urgent than ever to accelerate efforts to reform laws and adopt public policies that allow women to work or create and develop their businesses,” stressed the main author of the report, Tea Trumbic.

Especially since there are points on which almost all the states on the planet are particularly behind, according to the report.

This is particularly the case for two new criteria taken into account by the WB: the existence of childcare services and, even more so, the safety of women.

Childcare services are in fact an essential element in enabling women to more easily access the job market or create businesses and for good reason: on average, women spend 2.4 hours more than men. men, every day, with household chores, mainly due to childcare.

But legislation creating quality standards for services only exists in 62 countries worldwide.

But it is in the area of ​​security that the global score is the lowest (36%), with glaring gaps in terms of legislation aimed at combating sexual harassment, domestic violence and femicide.

And existing legislation is very partial: 150 countries have a law prohibiting sexual harassment at work but barely forty do so in public spaces, all of which hinder women’s access to work and, more broadly, to the economy.

“Today, barely half of women are part of the global workforce, compared to nearly three in four men. It’s not only unfair, it’s a real waste,” lamented Trumbic.

Especially since greater participation of women in global economic activity would have a particularly positive effect, as Indermit Gill recalled: “The reduction of these inequalities could increase global GDP by more than 20% and double the global growth rate over the next decade. »

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