Pakistan Only South Asian Country to Improve on WB’s Women, Business and Law Index

Pakistan is among the eighteen economies globally, and the only South Asian country, registering improvement in their women, business and the law score from 55.6 index to 58.8 index by enacting reforms to improve gender equality, revealed the World Bank.

The Bank in its latest report “Women, Business and the Law 2023” stated that in 2022, only 34 gender-related legal reforms were recorded across 18 economies—the lowest number since 2001. The global average score on the Women, Business and Law index rose just half a point to 77.1 from 2021 to 2022. Most reforms focused on increasing paid leave for parents and fathers, removing restrictions on women’s work, and mandating equal pay.

The report noted that Pakistan allowed women to register a business in the same way as men by enacting entrepreneurship-related reform to improve gender equality in the pay indicator.

In Pakistan, a May 2019 presidential ordinance initially repealed discriminatory provisions on registering a business. Yet these repeals did not become operational, as the Senate and National Assembly did not ratify the ordinance before its expiration after 120 days.

In December 2021, Pakistan removed these restrictions, and a married woman no longer needs to present her husband’s name when registering a business. This amendment concluded Pakistan’s previous reform efforts to remove the restriction, the report noted.

Women, Business and the Law 2023 assesses laws and regulations on women’s economic participation in 190 economies, from 1970 to 2022. The report covers eight related areas: Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension. The data offer objective and measurable benchmarks for evaluating global progress toward legal gender equality.

Globally, on average, women enjoy only 77 percent of the legal rights that men do; and nearly 2.4 billion women of working age around the world live in economies that do not grant them the same rights as men.

Moreover, in 2022, the global pace of reforms toward equal treatment of women under the law has slumped to a 20-year low. This “reform fatigue” is a potential impediment to economic growth and resilience at a critical time for the global economy. As global economic growth is slowing, all countries need to mobilize their full productive capacity to confront the confluence of crises besetting them.

Reforming in ways that encourage women to contribute to the economy as employees and entrepreneurs will both level the playing field and make the economy more dynamic and resilient in the face of shocks.

At the current pace of reform, it would take at least 50 years to approach legal gender equality everywhere. In many countries, a woman entering the workforce today will retire before gaining the same rights as men. In the areas measured in the report, it will take over 1,500 reforms to reach substantial legal gender equality around the world.

  • Obviously india is way ahead with 78.8 index rating and pakistan is behind at 58 points.

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