Briefs

Reforming Discriminatory Laws to Empower Women in Togo

This brief examines two reforms, enacted between 2012 and 2014, that lifted previous restrictions to women’s rights in Togo. Specifically, these limitations prevented women from choosing where to live, from getting a job without their husband’s permission, and from being named head of household in the same manner as men. The reforms to the persons and family code were driven by women’s civil society organizations engaging a wide variety of stakeholders, including the government and the international community. Together, these actors identified strategic agencies and stakeholders sympathetic to the overarching goal of gender equality in order to make greater gender equality a reality. This brief explores this process, while also indicating the remaining barriers to women’s full equality in Togo.

The Importance of Designing Gender and Disability Inclusive Laws: A Survey of Legislation in 190 Economies

Women with disabilities face additional barriers to their participation in the economy and society compared to men, with and without disabilities, and relative to nondisabled women, resulting in unequal parental rights, discrimination in their private life and the workplace, reduced employment opportunities, lower earnings, and high exposure to gender-based violence. The legal recognition of multiple forms of discrimination is a vital first step to address and, ultimately, enforce the human rights of women with disabilities and protect them from discriminatory practices. The law is thus one key element to achieve their full inclusion and enable societies to thrive in the long run. This Brief presents data collected by the World Bank’s Women, Business, and the Law project on the legal barriers that women with disabilities face when accessing economic opportunities in 190 economies. The new data suggest that only one-quarter of economies worldwide explicitly protect and promote the rights of women with disabilities.

Toward Available, Affordable, and Quality Childcare in Sub-Saharan Africa

The worldwide COVID-19 crisis has heightened the importance of aligning childcare policies more closely with the needs of working parents and, in particular, working mothers. In light of these circumstances, Women, Business and the Law collected pilot data for 95 economies worldwide that measure legal frameworks for the provision of childcare services, focusing on availability, affordability, and quality. This brief assesses the regulatory frameworks around childcare provision for 21 economies in Sub-Saharan Africa: Angola; Botswana; Cabo Verde; Cote d’Ivoire; Ethiopia; Gabon; Ghana; Guinea; Kenya; Malawi; Mauritania; Mauritius; Namibia; Rwanda; Senegal; Sierra Leone; South Africa; Tanzania; Togo; Uganda; and Zambia. The brief focuses on existing regulatory gaps shedding light on essential entry points for facilitating and informing policy dialogue in the region around the key demand and supply side avenues that limit or facilitate formal provision of childcare services for children below the preprimary school starting age. The framework is presented that shows a range of options that governments in Sub-Saharan Africa may support to meet the needs of working mothers and families although international best practice frameworks are yet to be established.

Toward Available, Affordable, and Quality Childcare in Latin America and the Caribbean

The worldwide COVID-19 crisis has heightened the importance of aligning childcare policies more closely with the needs of working parents and, in particular, working mothers. In light of these circumstances, Women, Business and the Law collected pilot data for 95 economies worldwide that measure legal frameworks for the provision of childcare services, focusing on availability, affordability, and quality. This brief assesses the regulatory frameworks around childcare provision for 17 economies in Latin America and the Caribbean: Argentina; Bahamas; the; Barbados; Belize; Bolivia; Brazil; Chile; Colombia; Ecuador; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Puerto Rico (US); Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago. The brief focuses on existing regulatory gaps shedding light on essential entry points for facilitating and informing policy dialogue in the region around the key demand and supply side avenues that limit or facilitate formal provision of childcare services for children below the preprimary school starting age. The framework is presented that shows a range of options that governments in Latin America and the Caribbean may support to meet the needs of working mothers and families although international best practice frameworks are yet to be established.

Toward Available, Affordable, and Quality Childcare in East Asia and Pacific

The worldwide COVID-19 crisis has heightened the importance of aligning childcare policies more closely with the needs of working parents and, in particular, working mothers. In light of these circumstances, Women, Business and the Law collected pilot data for 95 economies worldwide that measure legal frameworks for the provision of childcare services, focusing on availability, affordability, and quality. This brief assesses the regulatory frameworks around childcare provision for the ten economies in East Asia and Pacific: China; Fiji; Hong Kong SAR, China; Indonesia; Malaysia; Mongolia; Philippines; Singapore; Thailand; Vietnam. The brief focuses on existing regulatory gaps shedding light on essential entry points for facilitating and informing policy dialogue in the region around the key demand and supply side avenues that limit or facilitate formal provision of childcare services for children below the preprimary school starting age. The framework is presented that shows a range of options that governments in East Asia and Pacific may support to meet the needs of working mothers and families although international best practice frameworks are yet to be established.

Women's Rights in South Asia

An overview of laws and regulations that advance women’s economic empowerment in South Asia. The profile identifies priority areas for legal reform and best practices from the region, based on Women, Business and the Law data.

Key Ingredients to Women’s Legal Rights in Kenya

Legislative reforms to increase gender equality before the law are often long and complex processes. This brief focuses on a series of reforms in Kenya, specifically, the adoption of the Sexual Offenses Act of 2006, the Employment Act of 2007, and the Protection Against Domestic Violence Act of 2015. Strong evidence, broad coalitions, and incorporating the highest standards based on international best practice in early legal drafts are singled out as the key elements that led to the successful adoption of these landmark laws promoting women’s rights in Kenya. The lessons in this brief can provide important insights for policy makers, advocacy groups and international organizations involved in the pursuit of legal gender equality in Kenya and other countries.

Reforms to Enhance Gender Equality in the Democratic Republic of Congo: From Advocacy to Implementation

This brief examines two successful gender equality reforms in the Democratic Republic of Congo : the introduction of the Law on Parity in 2015 and an amendment to the Family Code in 2016. These two examples highlight three success factors: gender champions across local civil society groups; government and international actors making the economic case for reforming discriminatory provisions; and international obligations that allowed the reforms to pass. These legal reforms have had demonstrably positive effects on the lives of Congolese women and society. Yet, challenges remain for the Democratic Republic of Congo to achieve full gender equality in law and practice.

Challenging Entrenched Marital Power in South Africa

This first in a series of Women, Business and the Law case studies examines more than three decades of reform toward removing the husband's marital power from South African legislation, offering important insights on optimal contexts for change and the role of women in ongoing advocacy efforts.

Bangladesh Economy Summary

A summary of laws and regulations that advance women’s economic empowerment in Bangladesh. The summary identifies priority areas for legal reform based on Women, Business and the Law data and input from civil society organizations.

Ethiopia Economy Summary

A summary of laws and regulations that advance women’s economic empowerment in Ethiopia. The summary identifies priority areas for legal reform based on Women, Business and the Law data and input from civil society organizations.

India Economy Summary

A summary of laws and regulations that advance women’s economic empowerment in India. The summary identifies priority areas for legal reform based on Women, Business and the Law data and input from civil society organizations.

Kenya Economy Summary

A summary of laws and regulations that advance women’s economic empowerment in Kenya. The summary identifies priority areas for legal reform based on Women, Business and the Law data and input from civil society organizations.

Nigeria Economy Summary

A summary of laws and regulations that advance women’s economic empowerment in Nigeria. The summary identifies priority areas for legal reform based on Women, Business and the Law data and input from civil society organizations.

Pakistan Economy Summary

A summary of laws and regulations that advance women’s economic empowerment in Pakistan. The summary identifies priority areas for legal reform based on Women, Business and the Law data and input from civil society organizations.

Rwanda Economy Summary

A summary of laws and regulations that advance women’s economic empowerment in Rwanda. The summary identifies priority areas for legal reform based on Women, Business and the Law data and input from civil society organizations.

Sri Lanka Economy Summary

A summary of laws and regulations that advance women’s economic empowerment in Sri Lanka. The summary identifies priority areas for legal reform based on Women, Business and the Law data and input from civil society organizations.

Women’s Rights in Western and Central Africa

An overview of laws and regulations that advance women’s economic empowerment in Western and Central Africa. The profile identifies priority areas for legal reform and best practices from the region, based on Women, Business and the Law data.

Women’s Rights in Eastern and Southern Africa

An overview of laws and regulations that advance women’s economic empowerment in Eastern and Southern Africa. The profile identifies priority areas for legal reform and best practices from the region, based on Women, Business and the Law data.

The Rights of Women with Disabilities

This topic note showcases the results of a pilot research on the legal rights of women with disabilities in 176 economies as part of the 10 Commitments on Disability-Inclusive Development. The research was developed with the support of the World Bank's Environmental and Social Framework Implementation Support Unit (ESF ISU).

50 Years of Women's Rights

Today, women have just three-quarters of the legal rights of men. How have women’s legal rights evolved over the last 50 years? This infographic explores how more than 1,500 reforms enhancing women’s economic empowerment were passed in every country over the past 50 years.

Protecting Women from Violence - Bridging the Implementation Gap Between Law and Practice

This topic note is a Women, Business and the Law pilot exercise that examines the legally-mandated access and existence of certain key support services in a set of 100 economies by collecting data covering 13 questions on regulation aimed at closing gaps between laws on the books and implementation.

Women's Financial Inclusion and the Law

A case study examining how discriminatory laws can affect women's demand for financial services.

Saving for Old Age

Differences women face in their working lives relative to men can result in unequal economic outcomes in retirement. This case study examines the gender gap in access to pensions.

Closing the Gap: Improving Laws Protecting Women from Violence

Violence against women and girls can take many forms, from marrying off a girl before she is developmentally ready to direct physical or sexual abuse by a partner. Whatever the form of violence, all limit a woman’s opportunities and restrict her full participation in and contribution to society.

Mapping the Legal Gender Gap in Accessing Business Environment Institutions

In addition to the challenges that all entrepreneurs face in starting businesses, female entrepreneurs can face challenges in meeting the legal prerequisites before business registration.

Mapping the Legal Gender Gap in Using Property & Building Credit

When seeking a loan, women and men can encounter many obstacles when they do not possess the right types of assets to pledge as collateral. Two of the indicators examine some of the legal and regulatory prerequisites needed to access and leverage property as collateral and to build credit histories.

Mapping the Legal Gender Gap in Getting a Job

Women, Business and the Law’s getting a job indicator measures regulations affecting the formal private sector that differentiate between women and men that might affect women’s ability to get jobs. Some of these differentiations might help women work. Others might prevent it.