The World Bank has released the report ‘Women, Business and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform‘, measuring gender inequality in the law and taking stock of how women’s legal rights have improved over the last decade. The dataset identifies barriers to women’s economic participation and encourages the reform of discriminatory laws, based on eight indicators: Going Places, Starting a Job, Getting Paid, Getting Married, Having Children, Running a Business, Managing Assets and Getting a Pension.

Equal super involves recognition of childcare

In the report, Australia ties Iceland and Serbia on the 16th place, with a WBL 2019 Score of 96.88. During the ten-year period, Australia improved its overall score by being one of nine economies to introduce paid parental leave, which is leave available to either parent to take care of a child, achieving a score of 100 on seven indicators for 2019. However, inequalities remain for women’s pensions. Australia has maintained a score of 75 in the ‘Getting a Pension’ indicator during the decade of the analysis. The dataset notes Australian law still does not establish explicit pension care credits for periods of childcare.

The report highlights that many pension reforms benefitting gender equality result from a push for greater fiscal sustainability.

‘Achieving gender equality requires more than just changes to laws’, World Bank Group’s Interim President Kristalina Georgieva highlights. ‘The laws need to be meaningfully implemented – and this requires sustained political will, leadership from women and men across societies, and changes to ingrained cultural norms and attitudes. But by measuring progress over time and providing policymakers with a starting point for reform, Women, Business and the Law makes an important contribution to expanding equality of opportunity for women’.

(Source: Women, Business and the Law 2019)

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