Citizens for Justice and Peace

Laws preventing women from working affect economic growth, equality: Study

06, Apr 2018 | CJP Team

According to a recent World Bank study, laws that prevent women from working or restrict their ability to own businesses are negatively affecting the world’s growth and economic equality, The Guardian reported. The study considered 189 economies. In 104 of these, women are prohibited from working at night, or from working in fields like energy or agriculture, manufacturing, and construction. According to the study, this limits the opportunities of over 2.7 billion women. More than 40 of the countries studied lacked domestic violence laws, and 59 lacked laws governing sexual harassment in the workplace. 37 countries lack laws that shield pregnant women from losing their jobs. Overall, the study found that women face extensive legal obstacles when it comes to jobs and owning businesses that limit their ability to secure credit or limiting their control of marital property.

For example, in Equatorial Guinea, a woman requires her husband’s signature, or a male relative’s permission to obtain a work contract, a loan, or purchase a home. The study found that just 76 nations require equal pay for equal work. It also highlighted some positive developments since the report was released two years ago. For example, while the Democratic Republic of Congo has seen “a lot of sexual violence…it has passed some sweeping legislation that makes women and men equal in nearly all aspects of entrepreneuralism,” said Shanta Devarajan of the World Bank. The complete report, titled ‘Women, Business and the Law 2018’ may be read here. It is published every two years. 



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