Women are half the world’s population. Obviously, they have a huge role to play in the creation of prosperity around the globe. But in too many places, laws, customs, and tradition hinder what they can do to contribute to national economies.
The good news is those restrictions are declining. A new World Bank report lists progress in economic-related legal equality for women in every country. Ten years ago no nation had a perfect score, by World Bank criteria. Now six do: Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Sweden.
The region that’s made the most progress in promoting gender economic equality? That’s sub-Saharan Africa. In the Republic of Congo, reforms now allow married women to register businesses, open bank accounts, and sign contracts. Burundi, Zambia, and three other countries in the region introduced laws on workplace sexual harassment as well as domestic violence.
Africa still has room for progress. But so does the United States. It ranked 62nd on the World Bank’s list, which considers property ownership and inheritance laws, job protections, pension policies, and laws on pay and personal safety. There are U.S. advances, however: By some measures more women are now working than men.
March 8 is International Women’s Day. So it’s perhaps not surprising that the U.S. national women’s soccer team chose today to file a gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. Discrimination has affected how much they get paid, how they’re coached, and even how they travel, the team’s 28 members said in the suit.
The soccer federation hasn’t yet responded. The team begins its defense of its Women’s World Cup final in the next few months.
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