No economy can grow to its full potential unless both women and men participate fully. As half the world’s population, women have an equal role in driving economic growth.
Women, Business and the Law 2018 is the fifth edition in a series of biennial reports measuring the legal obstacles to women who engage in economic activity around the world. Since the World Bank started this study a decade ago, our understanding has increased about how laws influence women’s decisions to start and run businesses or get jobs.
The analysis draws on newly-collected data across seven indicators: accessing institutions, using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, going to court, building credit, and protecting women from violence. The study expands coverage to 189 economies around the world.
The data show the challenge many women face in the quest for economic opportunity. One hundred and four economies still prevent women from working in certain jobs, simply because they are women. In 59 economies there are no laws on sexual harassment in the workplace. And in 18 economies, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working.
What actions can be taken to increase economic opportunity for women? How can governments improve labor market participation by their female citizens? Hard data helps answer these questions.
By informing politicians about the legal obstacles to women’s economic opportunities, Women, Business and the Law makes a contribution towards promoting gender equality. The study celebrates the progress that has been made while emphasizing the work that remains to ensure equality of opportunity.