For the past eleven years, Bangladesh has been maintaining the same score on a global index that measures legal impediments to economic opportunities for women.
From 2012 to 2022, Bangladesh's score – 49.4 out of 100 – on the Women, Business and the Law (WBL) index has neither improved nor declined.
In South Asia, Bangladesh ranked second from the bottom and was only ahead of Afghanistan, according to the "Women, Business and the Law 2022" index, published by the World Bank on Tuesday.
Since 1974, Bangladesh has been maintaining the perfect score (100) in the freedom of mobility, one of the indicators used in the index.
The index is based on eight indicators – mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, assets, and pension. These are structured around women's interactions with the law as they begin, progress through, and end their careers.
Since 1971, the country's score for pension (25), assets (40), entrepreneurship (75) has remained the same.
It had zero score for the parenthood indicator up to 2007, and from 2008 it has been maintaining the same score of 20.
Scores of all the indicators lie between zero to 100. Scoring 100 means that women are on an equal legal standing with men across all of the areas measured.
Nepal scored 80.6 out of 100. The overall score for Nepal is higher than the regional average score (63.7) observed across South Asia. It achieved a perfect score on laws affecting women's decisions to work, laws affecting women's pay, and constraints related to marriage.
Afghanistan did not attain a perfect score on any of the WBL2022 indicators. Its highest score was 75 for workplace and entrepreneurship.
According to the report, around 2.4 billion women of working age across the globe are not afforded equal economic opportunity.
Globally, women still have only three quarters of the legal rights afforded to men – an aggregate score of 76.5 out of a possible 100, which denotes complete legal parity.
Areas requiring improvement
When it comes to laws affecting women's decisions to work, laws affecting women's pay, constraints related to marriage, laws affecting women's work after having children, constraints on women starting and running a business, gender differences in property and inheritance, and laws affecting the size of a woman's pension, Bangladesh could consider reforms to improve legal equality for women.
For example, one of the lowest scores for Bangladesh was in the indicator that measures laws affecting women's work after having children.
To improve in the parenthood indicator, the country may wish to consider providing 100% of maternity leave benefits, paid leave available for fathers, and prohibiting the dismissal of pregnant workers.
Twelve economies – Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden – scored perfect 100.
West Bank and Gaza, Yemen, and Sudan were placed at the bottom three on the index.
Women, Business and the Law 2022 presents an index covering 190 economies and structured around the life cycle of a working woman. In total, 35 questions are scored across eight indicators.