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No equality for working women in any country in the world, study reveals

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Global gender gap is far bigger than previously thought, as annual World Bank report takes childcare and safety issues into account for first time
Ahmed, Kaamil
Publication Date: 
5 Mar 2024


No country in the world affords women the same opportunities as men in the workforce, according to a new report from the World Bank, which found the global gender gap was far wider than previously thought.


For the first time, the bank investigated the impact of childcare and safety policies on women’s participation in the labour market in 190 countries. It found that when these two factors were taken into account, women on average enjoyed just 64% of the legal protections men do, down from the previous estimate of 77%.

Report author Tea Trumbic said childcare and safety issues particularly affected women’s ability to work. Violence could physically prevent them from going to work, and childcare costs could make it prohibitive.


Globally, women earned just 77 cents of each dollar earned by a man.


Togo had the highest number of laws in sub-Saharan Africa, giving women 77% of the legal rights of men, but had structures in place to implement just a quarter of them.


Addressing the childcare gap would immediately lead to a 1% increase in women’s participation in the labour force. The report said less than half the countries had financial support or tax relief for parents of young children and less than a third had quality standards in place for childcare that could assure parents of their children’s safety.

In 81 countries, a woman’s pension benefits do not account for periods of work absences related to childcare.

The report said that while 151 countries had laws against sexual harassment in the workplace, only 40 had laws that covered abuse in public areas or on public transport, meaning women were not protected on their way to work.