Data Review

Including Equal Legal Rights in the 2014 Gender-Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index

Equal legal rights form the foundation for the development of ‘high potential’ female entrepreneurship, yet in many countries women’s rights are  limited. This difference in rights is particularly evident with regards to married women, access to property and employment. In an effort to focus our variable to issues that affect a woman’s ability to start and grow a business we screened the Women, Business and the Law Database 2013 and decided to focus on three issues: access to legal rights, resources and employment. This resulted in 16 indicators being used.

These 16 Indicators include the following:

1) If customary law is a valid source of law, is it considered invalid if it violates constitutional provisions on discrimination or equality. (Yes = 1; No = 0)

2) If personal law is a valid source of law, is it considered invalid if it violates constitutional provisions on discrimination or equality? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

3) Can an unmarried woman be “head of household” or “head of family” in the same way as a man? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

4) Can a married woman be “head of household” or “head of family” in the same way as a man? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

5) Are married women required by law to obey their husbands? (NOTE Yes = 0; No = 1)

6) Are there special provisions governing the marital home? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

7) Does the law provide for valuation of 1nmonetary contributions during marriage? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

 8) Do unmarried men and unmarried women have equal ownership rights to property? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

9) Do married men and married women have equal ownership rights to property? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

10) Do sons and daughters have equal inheritance rights to property? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

11) Do female and male surviving spouses have equal inheritance rights to property? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

12) Can pregnant and nursing women do the same jobs as men? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

13) Can pregnant and nursing women work the same night hours as men? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

14) Are there laws mandating discrimination based on gender in hiring? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

15) Does a woman’s testimony carry the same evidentiary weight in court as a man’s? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

16) Is there a governmental office tasked with addressing sexual harassment? (Yes = 1; No = 0)

The final scoring is based on the total score for the 16 separate indicators. For each indicator

0 = unequal while 1 = equal under the law; total scoring: 0 – 16

 

RESULTS: In 22 countries included in our sample, married women do not enjoy the same legal rights as married men, and in eight countries included in our sample, women do not enjoy the same legal access to property as men. Moreover, in 21 countries women do not enjoy the same access to employment as men. When legal rights are restricted, it can become more difficult or even impossible for women to perform the activities necessary to grow female businesses, thus hampering the development of Promising and Potential Entrepreneurs.

WBL-graph