Gender equality is still far from a reality. There’s the gender pay gap, which shows no signs of closing any time soon, and recently, male managers even admitted that they feel uncomfortable mentoring women. So it’s perhaps not all that surprising that a new report from the World Bank called “Women, Business, and the Law 2019,” shows that the U.S. doesn’t even come close to economic equality for men and women.
The report examined the laws relating to women’s ability to work in 187 countries, as well as the reforms these countries have made over the past 10 years. The World Bank ranked each country on a scale of zero to 100 in eight different categories, and took factors like sexual harassment in the workplace, paid parental leave, women’s rights to divorce their husbands, and women’s rights to property into account.
And the U.S. ranked 65th in terms of economic equality, behind countries like Canada, Greece, the U.K., New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Mexico, and South Africa.
Although the U.S. still scored higher than average and received a score of 75 or higher in seven of the categories, it received a low score of 20 in the “Having Children” category, which looks at countries’ parental leave laws and whether or not it is legal to fire someone for being pregnant. That being said, the findings were somewhat encouraging overall. The report found that over the past decade, the global average score for women’s legal economic rights has increased from 70.06 to 74.71. This means that now, on average, women have about three-quarters of the economic rights that men do. In addition, six countries—Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Sweden—now have scores of 100, meaning that, at least on paper, men and women are completely equal.
But in an interview with France24, World Bank Interim President Kristalina Georgieva acknowledged that the report doesn’t account for issues like the gender pay gap.
It’s disheartening to see how far the U.S. (and the world) still has to go on this one. However, if this report is any indication, change is happening—albeit slowly.