The Role of Laws, Policies, and Constitutional Rights in Advancing Gender Equality in Africa and Globally

In every country, women earn less than men; in all but five, women are less likely to have paid employment. The impacts on income at the individual, household, and national levels are profound: according to the McKinsey Global Institute, closing the gender gap in labor force participation by 2025 could increase global GDP by $28 trillion, including $700 billion in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.

Yet one-third of countries globally have no workplace-specific protection against sexual harassment. Seventy-nine percent of countries prohibit discrimination against women in promotions, but fewer than half provide full protection to all women regardless of race, religion, or age.

A legal framework that supports gender equality at work must not only guarantee equal rights, but also address gender norms; account for how racial and religious discrimination compound gender bias; and extend coverage to the informal economy, where many of the world’s poorest women work. To assess progress and persisting gaps, this project will consist of: 1) a book and website providing a rigorous analysis of laws and policies on gender and work globally, and 2) a deepening of existing partnerships with lawyers and CSOs across Africa, with a focus on research and advocacy rooted in the Maputo Protocol.

Project leader(s):
  • Jody Heymann (WORLD Policy Analysis Center, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health)
STIAS fellow(s):
  • Amy Raub (WORLD Policy Analysis Center, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health)
  • Aleta Sprague (WORLD Policy Analysis Center, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health)

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