This indicator measures the government’s commitment to promoting gender equality by providing women and men with the same legal ability to interact with the private and public sector.
Relationship to Growth & Poverty Reduction
Studies show that legally sanctioned gender inequality has a significant negative impact on a country’s economic growth because it prevents a large portion the population from fully participating in the economy, thus lowering the average ability of the workforce. When one gender receives fewer legal rights, both the country’s potential labor force and potential pool of entrepreneurs decreases. When women are excluded from “male” jobs in the formal sector, an overcrowding occurs in the “female” informal job sector. This leads to a depression of wages for an otherwise productive group of workers. Research shows that when women have access to employment, investment in children’s health, nutrition, and education often increases, promoting higher levels of human capital.
This indicator combines 20 different assessments comparing women’s legal capacity to that of men. When conducting the assessments it is assumed that women have reached the legal age of majority; are sane, competent, in good health, and without a criminal record; and where married, are involved in a monogamous relationship. The legal capacity to execute 10 economic activities is examined: get a job, register a business, sign a contract, open a bank account, choose where to live, get passports, travel domestically and abroad, pass on citizenship to their children, and become heads of households. For the purposes of this indicator, women have the same capacity as men if they are legally able to perform these activities in the same way as men. Women are considered to have less capacity to act if they are not legally able to perform these activities in the same way as men.