bne IntelliNews – Women in emerging Europe have 86% of men’s economic rights

Women in the emerging Europe region have just over 86% of the legal rights granted to men, on average, according to data compiled by the World Bank in its Women, Business and the Law 2022 report.

In terms of women’s economic rights, countries in the region only lag behind high-income OECD countries, while outperforming other emerging markets. Several countries in the region have made legal changes to advance women’s economic inclusion over the past year, despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

However, with the exception of Latvia, where women have the same legal rights as men, women in the countries of the region are among the nearly 2.4 billion people in the world who do not enjoy the same rights. economic than men, according to the study.

World Bank researchers assigned a score out of 100 to each of the 190 countries assessed in the study based on laws and regulations in eight areas affecting women’s economic participation: mobility, workplace, compensation, marriage, parenthood , entrepreneurship, assets and pensions.

Latvia is one of 12 countries in the world that have no legal barriers preventing women’s full economic participation. they exist in the remaining 178 countries. On top of that, women face some form of employment restriction in 86 countries, and there is no guarantee of equal pay for equal work in 95.

The average global score is 76.5 points out of a possible 100, and all but four emerging European countries do better than that.

Most of the countries in the region belong to the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region, the rest to the OECD region, which has the highest average score of any region in the world. The ECA region comes second, with an average score of 84.1 points, nearly eight points above the global average, and up 0.7 points from the previous ranking.

The best performers in emerging Europe were overwhelmingly the Central European EU Member States, with the exception of Slovakia, which performed less well than a number of countries of the Western Balkans and the South Caucasus.

At the other extreme, legal parity was lowest in some of the Central Asian republics – Kazakhstan had the lowest score of just 69.4 – as well as in Russia and Belarus. Kazakhstan performed particularly poorly on wages and pensions, as did Uzbekistan.

The Western Balkans along with Armenia, Georgia and Moldova were clustered between the mid-1980s and the low-1990s, below their EU member counterparts but still well above the global average.

The best reformers

Across the world, the Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa regions showed the strongest improvements in the 2021 index, although they continue to lag behind other parts of the world as a whole.

Broken down by indicator, the Remuneration and Parenthood indicators obtained the lowest average scores on the index, but at the same time the greatest number of reforms were made in the Parenting, Remuneration and Workplace areas.

“Although progress has been made, the gap between the expected incomes of men and women around the world is $172 trillion, nearly twice the annual global GDP,” said Mari Pangestu, Chief Executive Officer. development policy and partnerships at the World Bank.

“As we move towards green, resilient and inclusive development, governments must accelerate the pace of legal reforms so that women can realize their full potential and benefit fully and equitably.

In the Parenting category, there have been a number of reforms regarding paternity leave and shared parental leave, but the overall average score for this category is still low.

“Women cannot achieve equality in the workplace if they are on an unequal footing at home…That means leveling the playing field and ensuring that having children does not mean that women are excluded from full participation in the economy and the realization of their hopes and ambitions,” said Carmen Reinhart, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank Group.

According to the report, three countries in the ECA region were among 23 countries worldwide that reformed their laws in 2021 to advance women’s economic inclusion. Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine have all introduced paid paternity leave, while Ukraine has also equalized the age at which women and men can retire with a full pension.

ECA economies perform well in the asset (100), mobility (100), marriage (96.5) and entrepreneurship (93.5) categories.

However, the report says, “significant challenges remain in the areas of compensation and retirement, which have the lowest average scores in this region. For example, almost half of the economies in the ECA region do not mandate equal pay for work of equal value, and the ages for receiving a full pension are still unequal in 17 economies.

Mary I. Bruner