From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : WBL index
Mains level : India's poor performance and reasons behind
The Women Business and the Law (WBL) 2020 index to measure the economic empowerment of women was recently published.
- The WBL report released by the World Bank.
- It is based on the countries’ formal laws and regulations that have a bearing on women’s economic participation, covering eight areas (eg, parenthood, equality of pay).
- It tracks how laws affect women at different stages in their working lives and focusing on those laws applicable in the main business city.
India’s poor performance
- India placed 117th among 190 countries on the index.
- India, the world’s most populous democracy scored 74.4 on a par with Benin and Gambia and way below least developed countries like Rwanda and Lesotho.
- The global average was 75.2 — a slight increase from 73.9 in the previous index released in 2017.
- Only eight economies scored a perfect 100 — Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Sweden.
- Those countries have ensured equal legal standing to men and women on all the eight indicators of the index.
- No economy in ‘East Asia and the Pacific’, ‘Europe and Central Asia’, or ‘Latin America and the Caribbean’ were among top reformers, the report claimed.
- Countries in ‘Middle East and North Africa’ and ‘Sub-Saharan Africa’ accounted for nine of the 10 top progressing countries on the WBL Index:
- Saudi Arabia
- The United Arab Emirates
- South Sudan
- São Tomé and Príncipe
- The Democratic Republic of Congo
Significance of the Index
- Legal rights for women are both the right thing to do and good from an economic perspective.
- When women can move more freely, work outside the home and manage assets, they are more likely to join the workforce and help strengthen their country’s economies.