•Reforms increasing women’s equality of opportunity contribute to more successful economies, higher female labor force participation, and better development outcomes
•Removing barriers that restrict the ability of women to move freely, sign contracts, work outside the home, or manage assets has been associated with a more abundant female labor supply
Empowering women economically strengthens their bargaining power within their homes, resulting in better outcomes for themselves and their families, according to the World Bank.
In a study dubbed 'Women, Business and The Law 2020' the bank shows this can in turn help boost a country’s economy.
According to the survey which covers 190 countries, discriminatory laws continue to pose a threat to women’s economic growth, career growth and work-life balance.
Kenya was ranked position 83 globally out of 190 countries with a score of 80.6 points in the 2020 Index, coming in ninth position in Africa.
“Such barriers to employment and entrepreneurship at every stage of life limit equality of opportunity, creating a business environment that does not adequately support working women,” the report states.
The study found that over time, reforms increasing women’s equality of opportunity contribute to more successful economies, higher female labor force participation, and better development outcomes.
“Removing barriers that restrict the ability of women to move freely, sign contracts, work outside the home, or manage assets has been associated with a more abundant female labor supply,” it states.
According to World Bank, female labour force participation is higher where the law ensures greater equality of economic opportunity between men and women.
However less than half of economies covered in the study have laws mandating equal pay for work of equal value.
“With the recent debate around equal pay, this is an important area of reform for governments hoping to reduce the gender wage gap,” the report stated.
Men are still being paid much more than women and their earnings are increasing more rapidly resulting in a wider pay gap despite increased efforts to break the monotony by forcing salary disclosures.
According to The Gender Equality In the Workplace Report jointly prepared by the NSE, Equileap and New Faces New Voices and launched last November, Kenya lacks a legislative framework enforcing a public disclosure of firm’s pay scales, key an indicator of gender pay gaps.
In the Global Gender Gap Report 2018 launched last April by the World Economic Forum Kenya ranked 76 out of 149 countries
The report showed a Kenyan woman is paid Sh55 for every Sh100 paid to a man for doing a similar job.
The World Bank report shows sub-Saharan Africa countries are still dependent on patterns of colonisation.
“In Sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the Democratic Republic of Congo inherited the Belgian civil code, while Kenya inherited British marriage laws,” the report stated.
Kenya was ranked position 83 with a score of 80.6 points in the Women, Business and the Law 2020 Index out of 190 countries, coming in ninth position in Africa.