Today: April 23, 2024
Today: April 23, 2024

Closing gender gap could lift global GDP more than 20%, World Bank says

Share This
LA Post: Closing gender gap could lift global GDP more than 20%, World Bank says
Reuters
Andrea Shalal
March 04, 2024

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ending discriminatory laws and practices that prevent women from working or starting businesses could raise global gross domestic product by more than 20%, which would double the rate of global growth over the next decade, the World Bank said on Monday.

The bank's 10th annual Women, Business and the Law report showed women on average have just 64% of the legal protections that men do, not the 77% previously estimated, and no country - not even the wealthiest - provides true equal opportunity.

The lower number reflects major deficiencies revealed by the inclusion of two new indicators - safety and childcare - in addition to pay, marriage, parenthood, workplace, mobility, assets, entrepreneurship and pensions.

The report assessed for the first time how 190 countries are implementing existing laws to protect women, finding what it called a "shocking" gap between policy and practice.

"Women have the power to turbocharge the sputtering global economy," said World Bank chief economist Indermit Gill, noting that reforms to prevent discrimination have slowed to a crawl.

The report said obstacles that women face in entering the global workforce included barriers to starting businesses, persistent pay gaps and bans on working at night or in jobs deemed "dangerous".

Women have barely a third of needed legal protections against domestic violence, sexual harassment, child marriage and femicide in the 190 countries studied, the report found.

Sexual harassment is banned in the workplace in 151 countries, but only 40 have laws banning it in public places. "How can we expect women to prosper at work when it is dangerous for them just to travel to work," Gill said.

Women also spend an average of 2.4 more hours a day on unpaid care work than men, much of it caring for children, with only 78 countries having enacted quality standards governing childcare services.

On paper, women had roughly two-thirds the rights of men, but countries lacked the systems needed for full implementation and enforcement, the report also found.

For example, 98 economies have equal pay laws, but only 35 have pay-transparency measures or enforcement mechanisms to address the pay gap, which shows women earning just 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.

The report includes specific recommendations for governments, including improving laws relating to safety, childcare and business opportunities; enacting reforms that lift restrictions on women's work; expanding maternity and paternity leave provisions; and setting binding quotas for women on corporate boards of publicly traded companies.

Earlier retirement ages for women, despite women living longer than men, also limit their income.

"Because they receive lower pay while they work, take time off when they have children, and retire earlier, they end up with smaller pension benefits and greater financial insecurity in old age," it said.

Tea Trumbic, the report's lead author, said barely half of women participated in the global workforce, compared with nearly three out of every four men.

"This is not just unfair - it’s wasteful. Countries simply cannot afford to sideline half of their population.”

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

Popular

Jamal Murray sinks shot at buzzer to cap 20-point comeback and lead Nuggets past Lakers 101-99

Jamal Murray sank a 15-foot step-back jumper at the buzzer and the Denver Nuggets wiped out a 20-point second-half deficit to stun the Los Angeles Lakers 101-99 Monday night and take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference playoff series

Nelly Korda puts bid for 6th straight victory on hold after withdrawing from Los Angeles tourney

Nelly Korda is putting her bid for a historic sixth straight victory on hold

Without cameras to go live, the Trump trial is proving the potency of live blogs as news tools

With cameras not allowed at former President Donald Trump's hush money trial in New York, live news blogs are coming into their own as an important news tool

Yankees manager Aaron Boone is ejected 5 pitches into game vs. Athletics

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected by Hunter Wendelstedt five pitches into a game against the Oakland Athletics over a remark from a fan behind the dugout aimed at the plate umpire

Related

Iran threatens to annihilate Israel should it launch a major attack

EU Parliament approves ban of products made with forced labour

A well-known figure in a German far-right party tells his trial he is completely innocent

Columbia switches to hybrid learning amid protests over Israel's war in Gaza

- Advertisement -
Advertisement: Limited Time Offer