Women, Business, and The Law 2018


"While understanding that women’s access to employment and entrepreneurial activities is related to many factors, the data in this report illustrate how laws and regulations limit women’s economic participation.

From the outset, the purpose of the Women, Business and the Law report has been to inform research and policy discussions on how laws and regulations influence women’s economic activity. This has largely occurred. From comprehending the importance of family law to women’s economic decision-making to recognizing the effect of violence against women on their employment opportunities, Women, Business and the Law has contributed to a better understanding of why legal gender equality matters.

But not enough has been done to reach legal gender equality. Many laws prevent women from working or running a business. For example, 104 economies still have laws preventing women from working in specific jobs, 59 economies have no laws on sexual harassment in the workplace, and in 18 economies, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working. What effect do laws like these have on women’s economic choices?

More research and evidence are needed to understand the effects of laws and regulations on women’s entrepreneurship and employment so that policymakers can better understand which policies to promote. Women, Business and the Law builds on a growing body of research that stresses the importance of laws in shaping women’s economic opportunities and improving gender equality. Research has called into question the notion that economic growth alone increases gender equality. Rather, continuous policy commitments to gender equality are required to achieve it."

Quoted text from the publication (p. 1-2).