Tell us: Can women in your country work in the same way as men? What needs to change to level the playing field?


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Last week, we published the Women, Business and the Law 2020 report, which tracks how laws affect women at different stages of their working lives in 190 economies around the world.

It examines eight areas that impact a woman’s ability to work: Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension. In the report, we ask whether the law treats a woman in the same way as a man in these areas.

Now we turn to you. We want to hear about your experience.

The good news is that legal gender equality is improving. The 2020 report says that 40 economies made 62 legal reforms over the past two years and all regions advanced, especially where reforms were needed most. Eight countries received a perfect score of 100 in the areas measured, compared to 10 years ago when there were none.

However, in many countries, women still have only a fraction of the legal rights of men, facing legal restrictions that limit their opportunities to work or own a business throughout their life. 

Does this sound familiar to you? 

Can women get a job in the same way as men? Does the law mandate equal remuneration for work of equal value? Is dismissal of pregnant workers prohibited? Does the law prohibit discrimination in access to credit based on gender? Are the mandatory retirement ages for men and women equal? 

When the answer is ‘no,’ it holds women back from fully participating in their economies, and affects their ability to make economic decisions that are best for them, their families and their communities.

This year we mark the 25th anniversary of the World Conference on Women in Beijing, a significant turning point for gender equality.  As we enter the 2020’s, it’s a good opportunity to look back and see how far we’ve come, and think ahead to what more needs to be done to level the playing field for women. 

Today, women are on average only three quarters equal to men legally, according to our 2020 report. Fifty years ago, women were barely half equal. Will it take 50 more years to achieve legal gender equality?  

So tell us: can women in your country work in the same way as men? What opportunities and challenges do you face as you move through your career? Do you have more economic opportunities than your mother or grandmother? What else needs to change to level the playing field for our daughters? 

We would love to hear from you!

Post your comments below. 

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Saloni Khurana
February 06, 2020

My mother got a government job offer in 1993 but she got married and my parental grandparents didn't allow her to pursue her dream. I was not married at the age of 19 like my mother. I am 25, my parents want me to understand my needs and how can I fulfil my needs before depending on someone else. In fact, my grandparents who in 1993 didn't allow my mother to do a job, they want me to chase my passion and work. One thing I have noticed is to pursue own dreams and to fulfil own demands, the nuclear family is at a greater advantage than joint family, at least in a developing country like India.

February 06, 2020

Yes woman can work in the same way as man what ever little work i do to support the family
No support for economic opportunities
We live on that. We want change and more economic opportunities
Empowering woman in business opportunities

Noreen Malik
February 06, 2020

Dear both, I am a Pakistanian immigrant to the US and came to this country as a teenager. I was brought up in Pakistan and transition to the US was refreshing. I excelled in both education and career. I consider myself very lucky and thankful for the opportunities. My mother was a stay home mom of eight kids and took care of extended family members who stayed within a joint family system. She was homeschooled for religious studies and did not have a proper academic level schooling. But she was very progressive-minded and wanted all of her kids to be educated. Hence we are all (eight of us) living in the US and leading a successful & financially independent lives.

I am the first woman within my age group of Pakistani immigrants, who pursued a professional corporate career after having kids. My mother always encouraged me to be financially independent and self-sufficient because she had to rely on others to fulfill her needs.

I did not notice being judged or excluded or passed on for the next role until I had my 2 girls. It has been uphill battle since 2004. I felt enormous pressure and felt being constantly judged going back to work after my first born. At home, it was a battle of balancing and being looked as ”not a good enough mother” cuz I was not there for my kids during the day. At work, I felt being excluded because I was not present physically for the early morning meetings or late evening meetings.

I think what needs to change is the social and professional mindset towards working mothers. We live in a melting pot. The companies management team comprises of personal beliefs from all walks of life especially you are working side-by-side with the professionals with eastern upbringing or a very conservative western Christian values. There is an unconscious bias at workplace that limits options for growth. At the same time, the career women with authority should promote talent over the gender bias and the life style adversity. The empty nesters women and/or the single women in management role tend to less compassionate towards talented working mothers with younger kids. That type of lack support stems toxic behavior and working environments. The gender base equality at worked can be diminished if the companies start respecting the boundaries of lives outside of work. Currently to progress, you are expected to produce results at all cost in all times and put a lot more pressure on the talented and ambitious working mothers.

The awareness of diversity is more prominent now and openly debated within academics and in social/professional circles. The generation from 50 years from now will have less challenge about the gender based equality and would be more focused on quality of life. The companies will evolve to offer equal benefits to all gender types in order to attract/sustain talented work force.

Sunny Zhang
February 11, 2020

In 2015, my parents arranged a "date" for me with a 30-year guy. I have been studying in the U.S. since junior year high school. So, my mother always says that I am Americanized. I still remember the news about "women only got 75% of the pay comparing to men. Then, when meeting with this man, I asked, "What is your opinion on women get less paid than men although they work on the same job?" Then, he replied, "I think it is normal. Companies have to consider the economic lost when women have to take marriage break and maternity leave." He added, "I would not hire that many women workers because of that. It is women's responsibility to take care of children and home."
In 2019, the Chinese government loosen the One Child Policy. I was in graduate school and interning at a small NGO. We have temporary staff sent from China. L was the temporary staff. She is the Human Resource person who is responsible for hiring new candidate in China. She told me that because of the policy was loosen, many women staff in the office got pregnant. Her boss was not happy about it. She said, "When we receive a lot of resumes from university career events, we put aside the female students' resume. We will look at the male students' resumes first and fill the openings. If there are couple positions left, then we will look at the female students' resumes." She added, "Companies need to make profit, you know. Women need to take maternity leave."
If you ask me does the laws in China provide women equal opportunities in the work force, I will say yes. However, women in China are still facing difficulties when looking for jobs, especially if they are single, married but have no child, and married have only one child. Their resumes cannot even be reviewed because of their gender. Here is the fun fact: you are required to put your gender and marriage status on your resume.
There are commercials saying that women don't need to work hard and compete against men for jobs. There are parents telling their daughters that they don't need to find a good job because they will marry someone one day. There are bankers making it difficult for women entrepreneurs to borrow money and start their business because doing business is the men's job. These are fields not covered by laws.

Sara Piñana Benet
September 09, 2021

No, They are not allowed to take some positions on jobs where they need to take the weight.