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Words And Deeds: Sex Discrimination In Economic Status Laws – 2024 Update

The 4th UN Conference on Women in 1995 was the birth of The Beijing Platform for Action, the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights. Governments around the world pledged to change or remove their existing unfair laws and make legal equality a reality. But that goal is far from being realized.

The State of Legal Equality in 2024

Most people are aware that there is a gender gap in the workplace, but a 2024 World Bank survey of 190 economies revealed that the gap is far wider than previously thought, with women on average enjoying just 64% of the legal protections that men do – far fewer than the previous estimate of 77%.  

It’s not just women who will benefit from greater legal equality. Full legal equality would maximize economic participation by women, adding up to $28 trillion of wealth into the worldwide economy every year. By unlocking every woman’s full potential, ending legal discrimination leaves communities everywhere free to break the cycle of poverty, boosting global productivity and stimulating economic prosperity across all nations.

Understanding Sex Discrimination in Economic Status Laws

Every five years since 1999, Equality Now has highlighted explicitly sex-discriminatory laws that need to be reformed in our Words and Deeds report.As we approach 30 years since The Beijing Platform for Action, and on the eve of the 68th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations, which has a focus on achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls through addressing poverty, this updated brief explores the impact of sex discrimination in economic status laws and what still needs to change.