A decade ago no country gave men and women equal legal rights, study shows Luxembourg is one of just six countries worldwide to give women and men equal legal rights in laws affecting work, according to a new study.
The World Bank’s women business and the law 2019 report looks at gender discrimination and reforms across 187 countries worldwide over the past 10 years.
Results show Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia and Sweden are the only countries which give men and women equal legal rights in areas including access to employment, entrepreneurship, career growth, work-life balance and pensions. The study also looks at laws and regulations surrounding gender equalities.
Countries are given a score out of 100 in all areas, but only six reached the full mark figure. A decade ago no countries were given a score of 100, meaning no country gave equal legal rights.
The report stated Luxembourg was one of 33 countries to have introduced or reformed paid paternity leave. Other countries included Australia, Bulgaria, Bolivia, Mauritius and Bhutan.
In January last year Luxembourg increased the number of days off new fathers are entitled to following the birth of their child from two to 10.
Of the six top-scoring countries France made the biggest improvements over the past 10 years by implementing a domestic violence law, providing criminal penalties for workplace sexual harassment and introducing paid parental leave.
The global average score was 74.71, indicating women have around three-quarters of the legal rights men have.
The average score for high-income economies was 93.54 while the figure stood at 47.37 for the Middle East and North Africa.
South Asia had the biggest improvement in average regional score, moving from 50 to 58.36 over the 10-year period, while the Democratic Republic of Congo made the greatest leap of all countries – from 42.50 to 70, nearly reaching the global average.
Of the 39 countries which scored 90 or above, 26 of them are high-income. Eight are from Europe and Central Asia.
Over the past 10 years 131 countries have made 274 reforms to laws and regulations on gender equalities, including 35 countries which introduced laws protecting women from sexual harassment at work.
A total of 56 countries made no reforms towards gender equality.
Most of the reforms made in Europe were to do with receiving a pension. Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine are in the process of equalising the ages at which men and women can retire with full pension benefits. (Source: Luxembourg Times, March 4th 2019)