Removing barriers to economic inclusion

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For men and women throughout the developing world, the chance to start and run a business or get a good job is the surest hope for a way out of poverty. Creating the kind of environment in which this hope can flourish requires effort in a broad range of areas, from security and infrastructure to education and health. It also requires good business regulation, suited to the purpose, streamlined and accessible, so that the opportunity to build a business or have a good job is dependent not on connections, wealth or power, but on an individual’s initiative and ability.

Measuring how regulations and institutions differentiate between women and men in ways that may affect women’s incentives or capacity to work or to set up and run a business provides a basis for improving regulation.  Women, Business and the Law objectively measures such legal differentiations on the basis of gender in 141 economies around the world, covering six areas: accessing institutions, using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, and going to court. Within these six areas, we examined 21 legal differentiations for unmarried women and 24 legal differentiations for married women for a total of 45 gender differences, covering aspects such as being able to get a job, sign a contract, register a business, open a bank account, own property, work at night or in all industries, and retire at the same age as men. This is a simplified measure of legal differentiation that does not capture the full extent of the gender gap, nor does it indicate the relative importance of each aspect covered, but does provide a basic understanding of the prevalence of gender based legal differences in each economy.


  • Publisher: Other
  • Language: English
  • Paperback: 160 pages

Download Women-Business-and-the-Law-2012.pdf