Industry Desk: Bangladeshi women are on an equal standing with men in about half of the cases, according to the World Bank’s “Women, Business and the Law 2023” report, which measures explicit discrimination in different areas.
The World Bank’s latest report published on Thursday has shed light on women’s economic participation and encouraged reforms of discriminatory laws. This is the ninth in a series of annual studies measuring the laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunity in 190 economies.
According to the report, Bangladesh has made no progress in women’s economic participation score since 2020.
In the latest 2023 edition, Bangladesh secured an overall score of 49.4 out of 100. When it comes to constraints on freedom of movement, Bangladesh gets a perfect score (100 out of 100). In fact, it has been maintaining the perfect score in this indicator since 2009.
The seven other indicators are workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets, and pension.
No reforms have been observed in Bangladesh in the past year (02 October 2021 – 01 October 2022) to improve women’s legal equality, the report said.
Areas for Improvement in Bangladesh
The report said Bangladesh could consider reforms to improve legal equality for women when it comes to laws affecting women’s decisions to work, women’s pay, constraints related to marriage, women’s work after having children, constraints on women starting and running a business, gender differences in property and inheritance, and the size of a woman’s pension.
For example, one of the lowest scores for Bangladesh is on the indicator measuring laws affecting women’s work after having children (Parenthood indicator).
To improve on the parenthood indicator, Bangladesh may wish to consider making the government administer 100% of maternity leave benefits, making paid leave available to fathers, making paid parental leave available, and prohibiting the dismissal of pregnant workers.
With a score of 80.6, Nepal performed the best among South Asian countries.
It achieved a perfect score for women’s decisions to work, laws affecting women’s pay, and constraints related to marriage.
Afghanistan placed at the bottom among South Asian countries, scoring 31.9 out of 100.
The country does not attain a perfect score on any of the indicators.
It restricted women’s right to travel outside the country in the same way as men and women’s right to get a job in the same way as men.
Fourteen economies – all advanced and high-income groups: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden – have achieved the perfect score (100) on the index.
This score indicates that women in these countries are on equal legal standing with men across all areas measured in the index.
West Bank and Gaza, Yemen, and Sudan were placed at the bottom of the index.
This year’s report goes far beyond recent developments. It also provides the first comprehensive assessment of annual data gathered over more than five decades – from 1970 through 2022.
Progress in this period has been remarkable – overall, economies have adopted more than 2,000 laws enhancing legal gender parity.
Yet this good news is not nearly enough. The rate of progress has been uneven across economies, regions, and areas of reform.
Currently, nearly 2.4 billion working-age women live in economies that do not grant them the same rights as men.
At the current pace of reform, it would take at least 50 years to approach legal gender equality everywhere.
Empowering women is not just a matter of social justice. It is a prerequisite for economic development, especially at a time when global growth is slowing and economies will need to summon all of their productive energies to generate a lasting recovery from the crises of recent years.
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