Visualizing Women’s Economic Rights Around the World
Visualizing Women’s Economic Rights in Each Country
In recent years, many economies have made women’s rights a priority by eliminating job restrictions, working to reduce the gender wage gap, or changing legislation related to marriage and parenthood.
Still, many laws continue to inhibit women’s ability to enter the workforce or start a business—and even to travel outside their homes in the same way as men. In fact, on average globally, women have just three-quarters of the economic rights of men.
This map uses data from the Women, Business and Law 2021 report by the World Bank, to visualize women’s economic rights around the world.
According to the World Bank, only 10 countries offer full legal protections to women, and all of them are in the Northern Hemisphere.
In ranking countries, the institution considers indicators like equal remuneration, legal rights, and mobility. A score of 100 means that women are on equal legal standing with men across all areas measured.
|10||Hong Kong, China||89.4|
|14||São Tomé and Príncipe||86.3|
|16||Bosnia and Herzegovina||85.0|
|18||Puerto Rico (US)||83.8|
|20||United Arab Emirates||82.5|
|26||Congo, Dem. Rep.||78.8|
|29||Central African Republic||76.9|
|32||Trinidad and Tobago||75.0|
|37||St. Kitts and Nevis||71.3|
|41||St. Vicent and the Grenadines||68.1|
|44||Antigua and Barbuda||66.3|
|52||Papua New Guinea||60.0|
|76||West Bank and Gaza||26.3|
According to the report, there are 20 economies in the world where women still have half or fewer of the legal economic rights of men.
Under Taliban rule, for example, women in Afghanistan have limited access to education and work. In the Gaza Strip, women must have the permission of a male guardian to travel.
Yet, some differences are also seen in developed countries.
In the U.S, women still earn an average of about 82 cents for each dollar earned by men, and the gap across many countries in Europe is similar. Meanwhile, women are represented in just 23% of seats in national parliaments globally, and make up just 13% of agricultural landholders.
The Shadow Pandemic
COVID-19 has exacerbated existing inequalities that disadvantage girls and women, including barriers to attend school and maintain jobs, according to the United Nations.
In fact, new research shows that the sectors that have been most affected by the pandemic so far are those with high levels of women workers, including the restaurant and hospitality business, as well as the travel sector.
While leaders debate recovery in a post-pandemic world, rights equality remains a central topic for social and economic development.
Charted: The Number of Democracies Globally
How many democracies does the world have? This visual shows the change since 1945 and the top nations becoming more (and less) democratic.
Charted: The Number of Democracies Globally
The end of World War II in 1945 was a turning point for democracies around the world.
Before this critical turning point in geopolitics, democracies made up only a small number of the world’s countries, both legally and in practice. However, over the course of the next six decades, the number of democratic nations would more than quadruple.
Interestingly, studies have found that this trend has recently reversed as of the 2010s, with democracies and non-democracies now in a deadlock.
In this visualization, Staffan Landin uses data from V-DEM’s Electoral Democratic Index (EDI) to highlight the changing face of global politics over the past two decades and the nations that contributed the most to this change.
V-DEM’s EDI attempts to measure democratic development in a comprehensive way, through the contributions of 3,700 experts from countries around the world.
Instead of relying on each nation’s legally recognized system of government, the EDI analyzes the level of electoral democracy in countries on a range of indicators, including:
- Free and fair elections
- Rule of law
- Alternative sources of information and association
- Freedom of expression
Countries are assigned a score on a scale from 0 to 1, with higher scores indicating a higher level of democracy. Each is also categorized into four types of functional government, from liberal and electoral democracies to electoral and closed autocracies.
Which Countries Have Declined the Most?
The EDI found that numerous countries around the world saw declines in democracy over the past two decades. Here are the 10 countries that saw the steepest decline in EDI score since 2010:
|Country||Democracy Index (2010)||Democracy Index (2022)||Points Lost|
Central and Eastern Europe was home to three of the countries seeing the largest declines in democracy. Hungary, Poland, and Serbia lead the table, with Hungary and Serbia in particular dropping below scores of 0.5.
Some of the world’s largest countries by population also decreased significantly, including India and Brazil. Across most of the top 10, the “freedom of expression” indicator was hit particularly hard, with notable increases in media censorship to be found in Afghanistan and Brazil.
Countries Becoming More Democratic
Here are the 10 countries that saw the largest increase in EDI score since 2010:
|Country||Democracy Index (2010)||Democracy Index (2022)||Points Gained|
|🇬🇲 The Gambia||0.25||0.50||+25|
|🇱🇰 Sri Lanka||0.42||0.57||+15|
Armenia, Fiji, and Seychelles saw significant improvement in the autonomy of their electoral management bodies in the last 10 years. Partially as a result, both Armenia and Seychelles have seen their scores rise above 0.5.
The Gambia also saw great improvement across many election indicators, including the quality of voter registries, vote buying, and election violence. It was one of five African countries to make the top 10 most improved democracies.
With the total number of democracies and non-democracies almost tied over the past four years, it is hard to predict the political atmosphere in the future.
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