Follow us on:
Search the Knowledge Hub

Women, Business and the Law 2022

World Bank Group




Influencing Gender Norms Impact Investing Workplace Gender Equality

Women, Business and the Law 2022

Women, Business and the Law 2022

The Women, Business and the Law 2022 report by the World Bank Group is the eighth in a series of annual studies measuring the laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunity in 190 economies.

The project presents eight indicators structured around women’s interactions with the law as they progress through their lives and careers: Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension. This year, the study also includes preliminary findings and analysis of pilot data collected on the provision of childcare and the implementation of the law.

Amid ongoing development challenges that disproportionately affect women, Women, Business and the Law 2022 identifies barriers to women’s economic participation and encourages the reform of discriminatory laws.

The indicators build evidence of the critical relationship between legal gender equality and women’s employment and entrepreneurship. By examining the economic decisions that women make throughout their working lives as well as progress made toward gender equality over the last 50 years, Women, Business and the Law makes an important contribution to research and policy discussions about the state of women’s economic empowerment.


When societies become more equal, economies become more resilient.

  • Besides being the right thing to do, gender equality makes economic sense. The World Bank estimates that, globally, differences between men’s and women’s total expected lifetime earnings is $172.3 trillion, equivalent to twice the world gross domestic product.
  • As such, adopting laws that strengthen women’s rights and opportunities is an essential first step toward a more resilient and inclusive world.

Reform is critical for women’s empowerment.

  • Women continue to face major challenges that threaten to widen gender gaps and entrench existing inequalities. They earn less than men for the same work and face a greater risk of violence in their homes.
  • Coupled with the pandemic’s ongoing nature, the global community is at risk of reversing the progress that has been made to bring women into the workforce.
  • Women’s economic rights should be strengthened so that they can have equal access to public support programs and digital technologies, such as mobile phones, computers, and the internet, which can help them to start new businesses, discover new markets, and find better jobs

Strong laws lead to stronger economies.

  • This report builds on the evidence that reform toward gender equality is critical for women’s employment and entrepreneurship.
  • Women earn only two-thirds of men’s expected lifetime income; therefore, reducing the inequalities in economic opportunity that could close this gap may lead to enormous benefits for the world.
  • Discriminatory practices not only hold women back, but also impede firms’ productivity, as they are associated with lower levels of sales and labour productivity.
  • The good-practice laws captured by the index are strongly associated with women’s increased economic empowerment. Additionally, evidence is emerging that a more equal legal environment is associated with a higher share of female entrepreneurs.
  • The presence of domestic violence legislation is also associated with a women-to-men mortality ratio that is 2.3 percent lower than the mean value.


  • Foreword
  • Abbreviations
  • Executive Summary
  • Chapter 1. Findings
    • Annex 1A. Women, business and the law index indicator scores
    • Annex 1B. Summaries of Reforms
  • Chapter 2. Toward available, affordable and quality childcare services
  • Chapter 3. Measuring the legal environment in practice
  • Appendix A. Data notes
  • Appendix B. Economy notes
  • Appendix C. Acknowledgements

This report was originally published on the World Bank Group website

to top