Nigeria scored 63.1 points in the World Bank’s report on Women, Business and the Law 2020, which is lower than some of its African peers like South Africa with 88.1 points and Ghana 75.0 points.
Women, Business and the Law report released last night measures laws and regulations that constrain women’s entrepreneurship and employment. This year’s data set and report cover 190 economies.
The data set and analysis can be used to support research and policy discussions around the ways in which the legal environment influences women’s economic activity. Thirty-five data points were scored across eight indicators of four or five binary questions, with each indicator representing a different phase of a woman’s career.
The eight indicators include mobility where Nigeria scored 50 points, South Africa 100 and Ghana 100; workplace, Nigeria scored 75 points, South Africa 100 and Ghana 100; for pay indicator, Nigeria and Ghana scored 50 points, while South Africa scored 100; and on marriage, the three countries got 100 points.
Other indicators are parenthood where Nigeria scored zero, South Africa 80 and Ghana 20 points; for entrepreneurship Nigeria and Ghana score 75 points each while South Africa stood at 100 points; Assets, Nigeria and Ghana scored 80 point each and South Africa got 100 points and for pension indicator, Nigeria and Ghana scored higher at 75 point than South Africa with 25 points.
The report is based on an analysis of domestic laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunities. The indicators were selected through research and consultation with experts. They are also inspired by the international legal frameworks set out in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women General Recommendations (CEDAW GR), the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (DEVAW), the International Labour Organization (ILO) Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100), the Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183), and the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190).
“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,” said World Bank Group President, David Malpass. “We stand ready to help until every woman can move through her life without facing legal barriers to her success.”
According to the report, 10 other economies in Sub-Saharan Africa implemented 13 reforms enhancing gender equality, with many placing among the top reformers in the Women, Business and the Law 2020 index.
For example, in 2019 São Tomé and Príncipe adopted a new labour code to meet job market demands and bring laws into compliance with international standards. The legislation lifted restrictions on women’s ability to work at night, in mining, and in jobs deemed hazardous. It now restricts only work that is likely to “pose a risk to the genetic heritage of the worker,” without specifying gender. The new labour code further prohibits the dismissal of pregnant workers.
Other economies in the region have also passed a variety of reforms. In Côte d’Ivoire, spouses now have equal rights to own and manage property. Mali mandated both non-discrimination in employment based on gender and equal remuneration for work of equal value. Niger removed restrictions on women’s employment in mining, construction and manufacturing. In Uganda, passport application procedures are now the same for women and men. Overall, reforms in the Sub-Saharan Africa region have affected nearly every indicator.
A lot of Nigerian banks have embarked on initiatives aimed at empowering women economically. Herbert Wigwe, group managing director of Access Bank Plc said the bank is fully committed to bridging the existing gap and provide women with the support they need to successfully implement their business ideas.