If women had equal opportunities to reach their full potential, the world would not only be fairer, it would be prosperous, said World Bank Group interim president Kristalina Georgieva.
In its newly released index titled Women, Business and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform, the World Bank revealed that women have only three-quarters of the legal rights that men have, restricting their ability to start businesses or get jobs.
The glaring disparity also limits women from making economic decisions that are in the best interest of their families or themselves.
“Change is happening, but not fast enough, and 2.7-billion women are still legally barred from having the same choice of jobs as men. It is paramount that we remove the barriers that hold women back, and with this report we aim to demonstrate that reforms are possible, and to accelerate change,” said Georgieva.
The index also takes a look at the legal protections relating to a woman’s working life, from starting a job through to getting a pension.
The data was compiled over ten years and 187 countries were scored according to eight indicators.
The World Bank noted that achieving gender equality was not a short-term process.
While strong political will and a concerted effort by governments, civil society and international organisations were needed, legal and regulatory reforms could play a foundational role as an important first step.