India scores 74.4 in World Bank index on life cycle of working women

Laws affecting pay, pension, inheritance and property rights are among the areas where India lags behind in terms of gender equality for working people, a World Bank report says

March 03, 2023 07:17 pm | Updated 07:50 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A group of women workers under the NREGA scheme at Jallipatti village near Udumalpet in Tiruppur district. File

A group of women workers under the NREGA scheme at Jallipatti village near Udumalpet in Tiruppur district. File | Photo Credit: S. Siva Saravanan

The laws affecting the Indian working woman’s pay and pension do not provide for equality with Indian men, dragging India’s score in a World Bank index on the life cycle of a working woman down to 74.4 out of a possible 100.

A score of 100 on the Index means that women are on an equal standing with men on all the eight indicators being measured, according to the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2023 report. 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. Out of the 190 economies covered in the Index, only 14 scored a perfect 100: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Luxemburg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

For India, the Index used data on the laws and regulations applicable in Mumbai, viewed as the country’s main business city.

“When it comes to constraints on freedom of movement, laws affecting women’s decisions to work, and constraints related to marriage, India gets a perfect score,” the report said.

Reforms needed

However, India lags behind when it comes to laws affecting women’s pay, laws affecting women’s work after having children, constraints on women starting and running a business, gender differences in property and inheritance, and laws affecting the size of a woman’s pension.

Recommending that India consider reforms to improve legal equality for women, the report noted that one of the lowest scores for India comes from the indicator assessing laws affecting women’s pay.

“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,” the report said.

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