A new study released by the World Bank found that only six countries in the world give men and women equal rights. The report is focused on legal and economic rights, and while six may seem low it is an increase from zero, which was the number the World Bank found 10 years ago.
The “Women, Business, and the Law 2019” report, found the six countries with full gender equality, which equated to a score of 100 on the report, to be France, Belgium, Denmark, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Sweden.
The report, which looks at a decade of data, says there has been “great progress towards legal gender equality over the past decade. In 131 economies there have been 274 reforms to laws and regulations, leading to an increase in gender equality.” Still, the report found that the average score, out of 100, was 74.71. Which means that women only receive three-quarters of the rights of men.
The countries with the lowest scores were Qatar, Iran, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia — all with scores below 35. The United States had a score of 83.75, which tied it with the Bahamas, Malawi, and Kenya.
The report looked at factors in the categories of “going places,” “starting a job,” “getting paid,” “getting married,” “having children,” “running a business,” “managing assets,” and “getting a pension.” The report sought to see if all of those categories were equal for women and men. What brought the U.S. score down, was the score for “having children” which was 20 out of 100.
The purpose of the study was to “develop a better understanding of how women’s employment and entrepreneurship are affected by legal discrimination,” and highlight “how women must navigate discriminatory laws and regulations at every point in their careers, limiting their equality of opportunity.” It did not factor in cultural and social factors or how effectively laws were enforced.
The report toed a cautious line of optimism, saying that reforms in Sub-Saharan Africa are notable, but also pointing out how slowly reforms are taking place in North Africa and the Middle East.
According to CNN, if the rate of progress stays steady, women won’t reach full equality in the areas focused on until 2073.