Women, Business and the Law: Sarah Iqbal Program Manager Global Indicators Group, Development Economics

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1 Women, Business and the Law: Sarah Iqbal Program Manager Global Indicators Group, Development Economics

2 1 1 WHAT IS WOMEN, BUSINESS AND THE LAW? Research on the business environment has helped us to better understand the obstacles that entrepreneurs and employees face in general when it comes to starting businesses and getting jobs. But what about obstacles that are specific to women? The Women, Business and the Law project examines laws and regulations differentiating between men and women in ways that may affect women s opportunities and incentives to work. It pioneers the measurement of the gender gap in policy variables using quantitative and objective data.

3 WOMEN, BUSINESS AND THE LAW INDICATORS Accessing institutions Using property Getting a job Providing incentives to work Building credit Going to court Protecting women from violence (pilot indicator) Explores women s legal ability to interact with public authorities and the private sector in the same ways as men. Analyzes women s ability to own, manage, control and inherit property. Assesses restrictions on women s work, such as prohibitions on working at night or in certain industries. Examines personal income tax liabilities, taking into account tax credits and deductions available to women relative to men. Identifies minimum loans tracked by private credit bureaus and public credit registries and assesses bureaus and registries that collect information from microfinance institutions. Examines access to small claims courts and data on whether women s testimony in court is given the same evidentiary weight as that of men. Examines laws on domestic violence and the existence and scope of laws on sexual harassment. 2

4 WOMEN STILL FACE CHALLENGES ACROSS ALL INDICATORS Almost 90% of the 143 economies covered by Women, Business and the Law 2014 have at least one legal difference restricting women s economic opportunities. 10 restrictions No restrictions restrictions < 10 0 < restrictions < 3 3 restrictions < 5 Among the 28 economies that have 10 and more restrictions, 25 are in the Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. Source: Women, Business and the Law database 3

5 MARRIED WOMEN LEGALLY CANNOT TAKE ACTIONS IN THE SAME WAY AS MARRIED MEN IN SOME ECONOMIES 4 Footer Info

6 MARITAL AUTHORIZATION LETTER 5

7 WOMEN S LEGAL RIGHTS OVER 50 YEARS More than half of the restrictions in place in 1960 had been removed by Restrictions in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and East Asia and the Pacific were reduced by more than half, and in OECD high income economies and Eastern Europe and Central Asia they were eliminated entirely. The least reforms occurred in the Middle East and North Africa and South Asia. 6

8 GENDER-BASED LEGAL RESTRICTIONS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH LOWER FEMALE PARTICIPATION IN THE OWNERSHIP OF FIRMS Source: Women, Business and the Law database, Enterprise Surveys database, World Development Indicators database 7

9 ECONOMIES WITH MORE RESTRICTIONS ALSO TEND TO PROVIDE FEWER INCENTIVES Source: Women, Business and the Law database 8

10 ECONOMIES THAT PROVIDE MORE INCENTIVES FOR WOMEN TO WORK HAVE GREATER INCOME EQUALITY Source: Women, Business and the Law database, World Development Indicators database, All the Ginis dataset 9

11 CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION OF CUSTOMARY LAW IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA 100% 80% 60% 40% 20% Constitutional recognition of customary law (SSA) Not recognize Customary Law Recognize Customary Law - and EXEMPT it from nondiscriminate based on gender Recognize Customary Law - and limit its ability to discriminate based on gender Countries that recognize customary law as prevailing in areas of marriage, property and inheritance and exempt customary law from non-discrimination provisions include: Botswana Lesotho The Gambia Ghana Mauritius Zambia Zimbabwe 0% Low_Income Middle_Income Kenya came off the list with its 2010 constitution. Women s Legal and Economic Empowerment Database (Women LEED Africa), Hallward-Driemeier et al. World Bank

12 PLURAL LEGAL SYSTEMS Approximately 50% of constitutions in SSA formally recognize customary law and 33% recognize religious law A third of these constitutions specifically exempt customary law from principles of non-discrimination in family and inheritance laws Over 80% of land in Zambia is customary land that falls outside scope of statutory inheritance laws Customary marriages generally do not benefit from beneficial statutory laws 11

13 CASE LAW POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE APHANE DOO (2010) Swaziland Married women married in community of property can register joint property in their name Discriminatory statute was unconstitutional MOJEKWU (2004) Nigeria Customary law favoring male heirs was upheld Customary law could not be rejected just because it did not recognize a role for women 12

14 HOW DOES REFORM HAPPEN? Collective campaigns by women s networks e.g. Kenya, Ethiopia Shadow reports to CEDAW committee Impact Litigation e.g. Unity Dow (1995) and Mmusi (2012) in Botswana Membership of regional treaties 13

15 CEDAW HELPED CATALYZE REFORMS Rates of reform doubled within 5 years of ratifying CEDAW Source: Hallward-Driemeier, Hasan and Rusu,

16 WOMEN LEGISLATORS RAISE THE PROBABILITY OF REFORMS Source: Hallward-Driemeier, Hasan and Rusu,

17 HOW DOES GREATER LEGAL EQUALITY TRANSLATE INTO WOMEN S ECONOMIC PARTICIPATION Work Recent research shows a strong positive relationship between having legislation on nondiscrimination in hiring on the basis of gender and women s employment relative to men s Property Reform of inheritance laws in India led to greater investment in girl s education, higher rates of female bank account ownership, and a greater likelihood of having sanitary latrines in the home Agency Reform of family laws in Ethiopia in 2000 increased female labor force participation and resulted in women working in more productive sectors Sources: Hallward-Driemeier and Gajigo Deininger, Xia, Jin, Nagarajan, Amin and Islam,

18 WBL.WORLDBANK.ORG

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