Leveling the legal playing field for women holds real promise for the world -- in both human and economic terms. Unfortunately, that promise remains largely ignored and its potential untapped. In too many countries, too many legal restrictions conspire against women to be economically active to work.
What can be done to remove these barriers? A new study done by IMF economists seeks to answer that question.
The bottom line? It's about a fair, level playing field.
We can all do better
Despite some progress over the past few years, gender-based legal restrictions remain significant. Almost 90 percent of countries have at least one important restriction in the books, and some have many.
These range from the requirement for women to seek their husband's permission to work, to laws that restrict women's participation in specific professions. Others constrain the ability of women to own property, or to inherit, or to obtain a loan.
Ties that bind
Our new study finds a strong relationship between legal restrictions and female labor market participation. In 50 percent of the countries studied, equity was reflected in law. When this happened, female labor participation rates increased by at least five percentage points over the following five years.
Click here to read Fair Play: More Equal Laws Boost Female Labor Force Participation.
Click here to read the full interview on The Huffington Post.