Pakistan Stands Out as Sole South Asian Nation to Advance on WB’s Women, Business and Law Index

Web DeskMarch 5, 20241984 min
Pakistan Stands Out as Sole South Asian Nation to Advance on WB's Women, Business and Law Index

Pakistan has been highlighted among eighteen economies globally, and notably the only South Asian country, to have improved its Women, Business, and the Law score, increasing from 55.6 to 58.8. This improvement in gender equality is attributed to legal reforms enacted in the country, as revealed by the World Bank in its “Women, Business and the Law 2023” report.


In 2022, only 34 gender-related legal reforms were recorded across 18 economies globally, marking the lowest number since 2001. The global average score on the Women, Business, and Law index rose by half a point to 77.1 from 2021 to 2022. Key reforms focused on increasing paid leave for parents and fathers, removing restrictions on women’s work, and mandating equal pay.

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Pakistan’s improvement is particularly highlighted in the report, citing a reform related to entrepreneurship that contributed to advancing gender equality in the pay indicator. Specifically, Pakistan allowed women to register a business on par with men, eliminating discriminatory provisions. In May 2019, a presidential ordinance aimed at repealing such provisions was enacted but was not ratified by the Senate and National Assembly before expiring. However, in December 2021, Pakistan removed these restrictions, marking the conclusion of previous reform efforts in this regard.


“Women, Business and the Law 2023” assesses laws and regulations on women’s economic participation in 190 economies from 1970 to 2022, covering eight related areas: Mobility, Workplace, Pay, Marriage, Parenthood, Entrepreneurship, Assets, and Pension. The report highlights the progress, challenges, and the global landscape of legal gender equality. While the report notes some improvement, it emphasizes that globally, on average, women enjoy only 77 percent of the legal rights that men do.


The report underscores the need for continued reforms to encourage women’s participation in the economy, citing the potential economic growth and resilience that such measures can contribute to. However, it also points out a concerning trend of “reform fatigue,” with the pace of global reforms towards equal treatment of women under the law reaching a 20-year low in 2022. The report concludes that sustained and comprehensive efforts are required to achieve substantial legal gender equality worldwide.

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