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Women, Bussiness and Law Index


As per the recent report by the World Bank, Women, on average, enjoy barely 77% of legal rights that men do.


GS Paper-1: Women Empowerment and related Issues.

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Women, Business and the Law Index
  2. Key Findings of the Index
  3. Mechanisms Existing in India for Vulnerable Sections

About Women, Business and the Law Index:

  • The index rates laws and regulations related to women in 190 countries.
  • The assessment covers eight areas related to women’s economic participation —
    • mobility
    • workplace
    • pay
    • marriage
    • parenthood
    • entrepreneurship
    • assets
    • pensions

Key Findings of the Index:

  • The World Bank’s ‘Women, Business and the Law Index’ released recently noted that the global pace of reforms toward equal treatment of women under the law has slumped to a 20-year low.
  • The report said-‘It seemed as if the legal rights and provisions were bridging the gap between men and women.’
  • In 2022, the global average score on the index was 77.1 — just one point higher than the year before. This indicates women, on average, enjoy barely 77 per cent of the legal rights that men do.
  • At the current pace of reform, in many countries, a woman entering the workforce today will retire before she will be able to gain the same rights as men.
  • Tracking the progress on gender-related legal reforms, the index said only 34 such reforms were recorded across 18 countries in 2022. This was the lowest number since 2001.
  • In absolute numbers, the score on the index means that nearly 2.4 billion women of working age still do not have the same rights as men.

Mechanisms Existing in India for Vulnerable Sections

Constitutional Provisions

  • Article 15(3): State can make special provisions for women
  • Article 23: Right to being protected from being trafficked and forced into bonded labour
  • Article 39 (a): State to ensure that, men and women equally, have the right to an adequate means to livelihood
  • Article 39 (d): State to ensure equal pay to women for equal work
  • Article 42: Provision for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.
  • Article 243 D: Provides for reservation of seats in Panchayats at all levels to women.

Legislations Related to Women

  • The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 – Provides for paid maternity leaves of 26 months
  • The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961— To end dowry by providing penal provisions.
  • Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act 1986 – Penal provisions for trafficking of women
  • Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 – To protect dignity of women
  • Commission of Sati (prevention) Act 1987 – Abolished Sati system
  • National Commission of Women Act 1990 – Establishes National Commission of Women
  • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 – To protect women from domestic violence
  • The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act, 2013 – It addresses workplace sexual harassment.

Institutions and Bodies for the betterment of women

  • National Commission for Women
    • The National Commission for Women was set up under the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 to:
      • Review the Constitutional and Legal safeguards for women;
      • Recommend remedial legislative measures;
      • Facilitate redressal of grievances and
    • Advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.
  • Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK)
    • RMK, established in 1993, is a national level organization under the aegis of the Ministry of Womenand Child Development, for socio-economic empowerment of women.
    • RMK extends micro-credit to the women in the informal sector through a client friendly, without collateral and in a hassle-free manner for income generation activities.

-Source: Down To Earth

February 2024