Gender Equality in Europe and Central Asia



Countries in the Europe and Central Asia region have a long history of striving for gender equality. However, three decades of unprecedented political, economic and social transformations have had profound gender-related impacts, which vary country by country.

Gender gaps persist in labor force participation and earnings. The labor force participation rate in the region for men is 66%, compared to 50.6% for women. The major constraints facing women include lack of affordable and quality childcare, the double burden of domestic and professional work, access to safe transport, and pressure to conform to gender roles. The pay gap between men and women is about 30%. 

Barriers to female leadership also persist, preventing women from advancing into top business management positions such as boards and corporate leadership. Female entrepreneurship is low due to limited access to assets, financial services, as well as information and markets.

A major development priority for the World Bank is helping countries in the region realize their full economic potential by empowering women, including through support to female business leaders and entrepreneurs. 

" We must accelerate action towards gender equality and engage women as agents of change for peaceful, green, resilient, and inclusive development. "
Anna Bjerde, Vice President, Europe and Central Asia

Anna Bjerde

Vice President, Europe and Central Asia, World Bank

The World Bank is committed to women’s economic empowerment and is guided by a Gender Strategy that focuses on key areas such as: closing gender gaps in education and health; removing obstacles to jobs; and removing barriers to women’s ownership and control of land, housing and bank accounts.

Learn More:

Women, Business and the Law

Women Business and the Law 2022 is the eighth in a series of annual reports measuring the laws and regulations in 190 economies, in eight areas impacting women’s economic participation: Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension. Women, Business, and the Law 2022 updates the data from the 2021 edition, and includes new research on ways to measure implementation of laws and legal frameworks governing childcare services. 

Watch a Discussion of this Report (1 March 2022)

Learn more about Women, Business and the Law


Women, Business and the Law presents indicator scores that offer objective and measurable benchmarks for global progress toward gender equality. Comparable across economies, the data is useful for research and policy discussions on improving women's economic opportunities.