A country can never achieve its full potential without the equal participation of women and men. Achieving gender equality is not only the right thing to do but it is also good for a country’s economic growth and development. However, this does not always materialise.
Gender inequality is prevailing globally. One of the major reasons for this is the unequal legal rights of women against men. According to the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2020 report, women still have just three-fourths the legal rights of men.
What is Women, Business and the Law report 2020?
The Women Business and the Law report is an index that analyses laws and regulations affecting women’s economic inclusion in 190 economies. It is composed by eight indicators structured around women’s interactions with the law as they begin, progress through and end their careers, aligns different areas of the law with the economic decisions women make at various stages of their lives. The indicators are Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension. The 2020 edition of the report is the sixth in the series.
Performance of India and other countries
According to the report, no economy in ‘East Asia and the Pacific’, ‘Europe and Central Asia’, or ‘Latin America and the Caribbean’ were among top reformers. Only eight economies scored a perfect 100 — Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Sweden. Those countries have ensured equal legal standing to men and women on all the eight indicators of the index. The global average score was 75.2.
India’s rank in the index is 117. Its score is 74.4, which is slightly below the global average. In fact, in this sense, India is faring behind even many developing nations such as Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, South Africa, Lesotho and many more.
Limitations of the index
Emphases on Formal Sector
A lot of women in India works in the informal sector. This index does not cover that, so it’s data does not stand completely accurate for India.
Coverage of Urban Areas only
The index does not focus on women employed in rural areas. In India, a majority of its population lives in rural areas. Thus, this aspect too contributes to inaccuracy of the score allotted to our country.
Laws are important for women’s economic inclusion. Achieving gender equality is not a short-term process. It requires strong political will and concerted efforts by governments, civil society, international organizations and corporate sector and all other entities. To make India of our dreams, it is important to work jointly and cooperate with different entities and bring the necessary reforms required to make the women of the country strong and independent.