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Women, Business and the Law Report

Why is it in the news?

  • The World Bank’s 10th edition of the Women, Business and the Law report evaluates laws affecting women’s economic opportunities across 190 economies.
  • It focuses on various aspects such as mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets, and pensions.

Major Findings of the Report

  • Women have access to only 64% of the legal rights available to men globally.
  • Women earn on average 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, highlighting pervasive gender-based pay disparities. Furthermore, 92 economies lack legal provisions mandating equal pay for equal work, exacerbating the issue.
  • Only 44% of legal provisions supporting women’s entrepreneurship are in place globally. Additionally, women hold only one out of every five corporate board positions worldwide, indicating significant gender imbalances in leadership roles.
  • Discriminatory provisions in nationality laws exist in 28 economies, limiting women’s economic opportunities by restricting their access to citizenship rights.
  • In 62 economies, women retire earlier than men, potentially affecting their long-term financial security. Furthermore, 81 economies fail to account for periods of work absences related to childcare in women’s pension benefits, further disadvantaging them.
  • Increasing women’s participation in the workforce has the potential to significantly boost global GDP, highlighting the economic importance of gender equality.

India’s Performance

  • India’s rank has marginally improved to 113, with a score of 74.4%. However, there is still room for improvement.
  • Indian women have access to only 60% of the legal rights compared to men, slightly below the global average.
  • India receives low scores in laws affecting women’s pay, suggesting the presence of significant gender-based pay disparities within the country.
  • While India scores higher than the global and South Asian averages in some areas, such as supportive frameworks for women, it lacks in indicators related to childcare, indicating areas for improvement.

Recommendations from the Report

  • Accelerate efforts to reform laws and enact public policies empowering women to address the identified disparities.
  • Improve laws related to women’s safety, access to childcare, and business opportunities to create a more conducive environment for women’s economic participation.
  • Establish frameworks supporting the effective implementation of gender equality laws to ensure their enforcement and impact.
  • Enact legal reforms for equal pay, lifting work restrictions on women, and other measures to address gender-based discrimination in the workforce.
  • Expand maternity and paternity leave provisions and prohibit firing pregnant women to support work-life balance and prevent discrimination against parents.
  • Prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace and provide financial support for parents to create safer and more inclusive work environments.
  • Implement quotas for women on corporate boards and adopt gender-sensitive procurement criteria to promote gender diversity and inclusion in leadership positions.
  • Ensure equal retirement benefits for women by accounting for work absences related to childcare, thereby addressing gender disparities in retirement outcomes.
India鈥檚 initiatives for gender equality in workplace

The Code on Wages, 2019:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Prohibits gender discrimination in matters related to wages and recruitment, ensuring equal pay for equal work or work of similar nature.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Aims to promote gender equality by addressing disparities in wages and opportunities based on gender.

Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, 2017:

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Provides maternity benefits to women employees, ensuring paid leave and job security during maternity.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Mandates establishments with fifty or more employees to provide creche facilities, facilitating the work-life balance of working mothers.

Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act):

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Aims to prevent and prohibit sexual harassment of women at the workplace.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Requires employers to establish internal complaint mechanisms, conduct inquiries, and provide redressal for complaints of sexual harassment.

路聽聽聽聽聽聽 Ensures a safe and conducive work environment for women, promoting their participation and retention in the workforce.

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