World Bank report finds only six countries worldwide give women & men equal legal work rights

Author: Lucy Lamble, The Guardian, Published on: 1 March 2019

'Only six countries in the world give women and men equal legal work rights', 1 March 2019

If you’re a woman and want to be on an equal footing with men, it’s best to live and work in Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg or Sweden. The World Bank, which has tracked legal changes for the past decade, found these were the only countries in the world to enshrine gender equality in laws affecting work.

The bank’s women, business and the law 2019 report, published this week, measured gender discrimination in 187 countries. It found that, a decade ago, no country gave women and men equal legal rights.

The index assessed eight indicators that influence economic decisions women make during their working lives – from freedom of movement to getting a pension – tracking legal blocks to either employment or entrepreneurship. [...]

The report found that women’s rights advocacy groups had played a key role in driving reforms.

While the report noted significant progress overall, there remained much to be done to level the playing field. Instituting legal reforms did not necessarily lead to changes on the ground, and a score of 100 did not automatically mean 100% equality. Unequal pay is a major stumbling block. Women in Sweden earn 5% less than their male peers (in the UK they earn 8% less). [...]

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