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World Bank: 2.4 billion women globally not afforded equal economic rights as men

World Bank: 2.4 billion women globally not afforded equal economic rights as men
March 02
08:54 2022

The World Bank says around 2.4 billion women of working age are not afforded equal economic opportunities and 178 countries maintain legal barriers that prevent their full economic participation.

The global financial institution said this in its Women, Business and the Law (WBL) 2022 report, released on Tuesday.

WBL measures laws and regulations across 190 countries in eight areas impacting women’s economic participation, including mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets, and pensions.

According to World Bank, the gap between expected lifetime earnings among men and women globally is $172 trillion — nearly two times the world’s annual GDP.

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The report added that the Middle East, North Africa and some sub-Saharan Africa regions showed the largest improvements in the WBL Index in 2021, though they continue to lag behind other parts of the world overall.

The report is coming amid development at the national assembly voted against crucial bills aiming to politically empowered women in Nigeria.

Lawmakers, on Tuesday, voted against a bill seeking to provide special seats for women in the national and state houses of assembly.

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They also rejected a bill seeking to “provide reserve quota” for women on appointments.

The report said women face some form of job restriction in 86 countries, and 95 countries do not guarantee equal pay for equal work.

The report added that women around the world still have only three-quarters of the legal rights afforded to men — an aggregate score of 76.5 out of a possible 100, which denotes complete legal parity.

But despite the disproportionate effect on women’s lives and livelihood from the global pandemic, 23 countries reformed their laws in 2021 to take much-needed steps towards advancing women’s economic inclusion, the report stated.

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“While progress has been made, the gap between men’s and women’s expected lifetime earnings globally is US$172 trillion — nearly two times the world’s annual GDP,” Mari Pangestu, managing director of development policy and partnerships, World Bank, said.

“As we move forward to achieve green, resilient and inclusive development, governments need to accelerate the pace of legal reforms so that women can realize their full potential and benefit fully and equally.”

The report noted that the most persistent gaps remain in the areas of pay and parenthood, demonstrating that many economies have yet to remove restrictions or introduce the good-practice legal rights and benefits identified.

“Women cannot achieve equality in the workplace if they are on an unequal footing at home,” Carmen Reinhart, senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank Group, said.

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“That means levelling the playing field and ensuring that having children doesn’t mean women are excluded from full participation in the economy and realizing their hopes and ambitions.”

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