Billions of women lack legal protection against violence – World Bank

Madam Paula Tavares, World Bank Group, Legal Gender Specialist in charge of Women, Business and the Law, says more than one billion women lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence.

She said a new World bank research on Global and Regional Trends in Women’s Legal Protection against Domestic Violence and Sexual Harassment, also found that close to 1.4 billion women lack legal protection against domestic economic violence.

Madam Tavares said this at the opening of a two-day workshop on laws affecting women’s economic empowerment, in Accra.

The workshop was organised by the World Bank Group’s Women Business and the Law; in partnership with Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) with the goal of building awareness of gender-differentiated laws and identifying areas for reform in the region.

She said, violence against women took many forms, including physical, sexual, emotional, and economic which led to negative and, at times, dramatic mental, and physical health consequences.

“It leads to increased absenteeism at work and limits mobility, thereby reducing productivity and earnings, it leads girls to drop out of school because going to school puts them at risk of abuse, it affects women’s decision-making ability within the household, including being able to seek services when needed.

“Gender-based violence is a global epidemic that endangers the life of women and girls with a wide range of negative consequences not only for them, but also for their children and communities.

“Ending this scourge is integral to the development of women’s human capital and unleashing their contribution to economic growth,” she said.

Mrs Ronke Amoni Ogunsulire, the Country Manager for International Finance Cooperation, appealed to stakeholders to improve the understanding the legal and regulatory environments and to shape women’s economic opportunities in West and Central Africa.

She explained that, the appeal had become necessary especially when over the past two years, only seven economies in West and Central Africa had carried out reforms aimed at increasing women’s economic opportunities.

She said, globally, legal gender difference were widespread, and 155 out of the 173 representing 90 per cent economies covered had at least one law impeding women’s economic opportunities.

Madam Afua Addotey, the Board Chair OF WiLDAF, said a lot had been done to bridge gender gap in Ghana however; there was need for stakeholders to do more as inequality was the root cause of poverty.

The Women, Business and the Law measures how laws, regulations and institutions differentiate between women and men in ways that affect women’s ability to work or set up and operate a business.

It analyses legal, differences based on gender in 173 economies, covering seven areas: accessing institutions, using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, building credit, going to court and protecting women from violence.  

Source: GNA

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