According to the World Bank’s (WB) Women, Business and the Law report 2023 – an index on the life cycle of a working woman, India’s score dropped to 74.4 out of 100.


What is ‘Women, Business and the Law Report, 2023’?

  • It is a World Bank Group project collecting data on the laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunity.
  • It is committed to informing research and policy discussions about the state of women’s economic opportunities and empowerment.
  • It demonstrates the progress made while emphasising the work still to be done to ensure economic empowerment for all.
  • Since 2009, the project has aided economies to achieve gender equality and hence become more resilient.
  • It covers 190 economies and eight topics relevant to women’s economic participation and the 2023 report measures the legal differences on access to economic opportunities between men and women.
  • A score of 100 on the Index means that women are on an equal standing with men on all the eight indicators being measured.
  • In the 2023 index only 14 (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, etc) economies scored a perfect 100.


What is the India specific findings in the WBL Report 2023?

  • For India, the Index used data on the laws and regulations applicable in Mumbai, viewed as the country’s main business city.
  • The laws affecting the Indian working woman’s pay, pension, work after having children, starting and running a business, property and inheritance, do not provide for equality with Indian men, dragging India’s score down to 74.4.
  • India scored higher than the 63.7 average for the South Asian region, though lower than Nepal which had the region’s highest score of 80.6.
  • India gets a perfect score, when it comes to constraints on freedom of movement, laws affecting women’s decisions to work and constraints related to marriage.
  • Reforms needed To improve on the Pay indicator, India may wish to consider —
      • Mandating equal remuneration for work of equal value,
      • Allowing women to work at night in the same way as men, and
      • Allowing women to work in an industrial job in the same way as men.