The World Bank Group works with public- and private-sector clients to close gaps between males and females globally in tackling poverty and driving sustainable economic growth in our client countries. In the last two decades, the world has narrowed the divide between men and women, especially in primary education and health. Yet critical gaps remain. Major challenges—from climate change, forced migration, and pandemics to decelerating investment growth and rising poverty rates in many developing countries—affect boys, girls, men and women differentially (often to the detriment of females) due to discriminatory laws and policies, along with gender and social norms that influence their economic roles, and responsibilities. It is time to go beyond ensuring equal access to recognizing and elevating women as agents of economic growth, stability and sustainability, and for men to work with women to accelerate progress toward gender equality.
About 830 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications around the world every day. In education, enrollment has increased, but school completion remains a challenge at the secondary level for both girls and boys, albeit for different reasons.
Globally, women’s labor force participation fell from 51% in 2000 to 49% in 2018; women devote 1 to 5 hours more a day to unpaid domestic work and childcare and other family care work, and 1 to 6 hours a day less to market activities than men.
Women in all countries face earnings gaps. If women could have the same lifetime earnings as men, global wealth could increase by $160 trillion--an average of $23,620 per person – in 141 countries studied.
Over the past decade, in 131 economies there have been 274 reforms to laws and regulations, leading to an increase in gender equality. This includes 35 economies that have implemented laws on workplace sexual harassment, protecting nearly 2 billion more women than a decade ago. However, many laws and regulations continue to prevent women from entering the workforce or starting a business; discrimination can have lasting effects on women’s economic inclusion and labor force participation.
Women globally are 7.5% less likely to have an account with a financial institution or mobile banking than men, and the gap is larger in poorer countries. The IFC estimates a $1.5 trillion annual credit deficit for women-owned small and medium enterprises.
Gender-based violence—perhaps the most extreme constraint on women’s voice and agency—remains a global epidemic, affecting more than 1 in 3 women over the course of a lifetime.
Last Updated: Oct 31, 2019