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Only these 6 countries have equal rights for men and women, World Bank finds

Only these 6 countries have equal rights for men and women, World Bank finds

Only these 6 countries have equal rights for men and women, World Bank finds

The world is making progress towards greater gender equality, very, very slow progress according to the World Bank.

A new  women, business and the law 2019 report by the World Bank has examined 35 indicators of legal equality in 187 countries, covering everything from property ownership and inheritance laws to job protections and pension policies, along with rules governing marriage, movement and travel, pay, and personal safety. Surprisingly, only six countries meet the criteria for a truly equal society.

According to the report, 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. 

That’s an increase – from zero – compared to a decade ago, when the organisation started measuring countries by how effectively they guarantee legal and economic equality between the genders.

Of those nations, France saw the biggest improvement over the past decade for implementing a domestic violence law, providing criminal penalties for workplace sexual harassment and introducing paid parental leave.

It’s notable, too, that sub-Saharan Africa, as a region, had the most reforms in the last 10 years. In that area, there were 71 different laws passed in the last decade that allowed women to start jobs and provided recourse from workplace harassment and domestic violence. 

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. Each country was scored and ranked, with a score of 100 indicating the most equal. Only the above-mentioned six were given full marks.

The study aimed to “develop a better understanding of how women’s employment and entrepreneurship are affected by legal discrimination,” highlighting “how women must navigate discriminatory laws and regulations at every point in their careers, limiting their equality of opportunity.” According to CNN the report did not measure social and cultural factors, or how effectively laws were enforced.

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