Although there has been progress in ensuring gender equality throughout the world, there remain many laws and regulations that prevent or hinder women from starting businesses, navigating the workforce and fully contributing to and sharing in the prosperity of their societies. To provide insight into how such laws affect women’s economic opportunities, the World Bank Group has released Women, Business and the Law 2014: Removing Restrictions to Enhance Gender Equality. This third, biannual report quantitatively compares gender-based legal differences in 143 economies.
On January 15, the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings hosted the report’s lead author, Sarah Iqbal, for a discussion on efforts to enhance gender equity and women’s economic empowerment worldwide. A short presentation of the report by Ms. Iqbal was followed by a panel discussion including: Ms. Iqbal; Greta Schettler, senior economic policy advisor in the Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State; and Rachel Vogelstein, director of Women and Girls Programs at the Clinton Foundation and a fellow with the Women and Foreign Policy Program of the Council on Foreign Relations. Brookings Visiting Fellow Tamar Atinc moderated the discussion.