A World Bank study released in May shows how women’s rights affects economies across the world. A lack of rights protecting women, or excessive laws preventing their equality at home and in the workplace, is holding back growth in many countries.
Laws on domestic violence and workplace discrimination encourage women into the workplace. But there are countries where women still lack control over their own finances, property, and business.
In The Guardian’s report on the World Bank study, World Bank chief executive Kristalina Georgieva said, “No economy can grow to its full potential unless women and men participate fully.”
And Sarah Iqbal, programme manager at the World Bank’s women, business and law project, said, “There is no reason to keep women out of certain jobs or prevent them from owning a business. Our message is simple: no women, no growth.”
The report references the growing #MeToo movement. It is hoped that global awareness will improve sexual harassment legislation. Twenty one of the surveyed economies scored zero for protecting women from violence. Only 76 out of 189 countries had legislation on equal pay.
This has an impact on the bottom line of countries’ economies. In OECD countries with a gender gap there was an average income loss of 15%, 40% of that due to entrepreneurship gaps. That being the average the figure is higher in developing countries.
At the Gardiner Foundation, we believe entrepreneurship is the best route out of poverty. We are especially interested in gender equality because of the huge effect it has on economics. The empowerment of women and girls as well as opportunities afforded them has a positive knock-on effect throughout their community and the world.