The world is moving towards legal gender equality – but it’s moving very, very slowly.
Only six countries currently give women and men equal rights, a major report from the World Bank has found.
That’s an increase – from zero – compared to a decade ago, when the organization started measuring countries by how effectively they guarantee legal and economic equality between the genders.
But the rate of progress means that, by CNN calculations, women won’t achieve full equality in the areas studied by the World Bank until 2073.
Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden scored full marks of 100 in the bank’s “Women, Business and the Law 2019” report.
Of those nations, France saw the biggest improvement over the past decade for implementing a domestic violence law, providing criminal penalties for workplace sexual harassment and introducing paid parental leave.
But countries in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa averaged a score of 47.37, meaning the typical nation in those regions gives women under half the legal rights of men in the areas measured by the group.
The study aimed to “develop a better understanding of how women’s employment and entrepreneurship are affected by legal discrimination,” highlighting “how women must navigate discriminatory laws and regulations at every point in their careers, limiting their equality of opportunity.” It did not measure social and cultural factors, or how effectively laws were enforced.
The criteria analyzed were: going places, starting a job, getting paid, getting married, having children, running a business, managing assets and getting a pension. Those were broken down into questions such as: “Can a woman travel outside her home in the same way as a man?” and “Is there legislation specifically address domestic violence?”
Overall, the global average came in at 74.71 – an increase of more than four and a half points compared to a decade ago. But the score indicates that in the average nation, women receive just three-quarters of the legal rights that men do.