A new report [text, PDF] by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) [advocacy websites] on Tuesday revealed [press release] that most countries still have legal disparities that prevent women from engaging in economic activity. The report determined that in 90 percent of all surveyed 143 economies, there was at least one legal difference adversely affecting women. Among the countries, Saudi Arabia was the leading country with more than than 25 legal differences but fewer than two incentives to encourage women to work. Areas in which legal differences existed included travel, ability to sign contracts, financial management and employment. World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim [official profile] stated that providing equal opportunities is a "smart economic policy" because women can contribute to establish a "more cohesive society and a more resilient economy."
Last week Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] the head of the Rights and Freedoms Working Group for Yemen's National Dialogue to incorporate protections for women in the country's new constitution. HRW listed seven key issues affecting women's rights—equality, non-discrimination, political parties, violence against women, personal status law, child marriage and nationality rights. In May the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) [official website] called for the participation [JURIST report] of Libyan women in the Constitution Drafting Assembly. The UNSMIL noted that the preparation and drafting of the constitution is a significant part of Libya's democratic transition, and the representation and participation of women throughout the process will greatly contribute to the growth of the country. Also in May the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and UN Women [official websites] demanded [JURIST report] Afghanistan's government to fully respect and defend the fundamental rights of women and girls by ensuring the implementation of and respect for women's rights legislation.