Staff post by Milad Pournik
The Women’s Foreign Policy Group (WFPG) hosted an event entitled Why Measuring Gender Equality is a Foreign Policy Issue in Washington DC on October 5. The event featured two speakers: Sarah Iqbal of the Women, Business and the Law (WBL) project of the World Bank and Andria Hayes-Birchler, Development Policy Officer at the Millennium Challenge Corporation.
Iqbal started by explaining that the WBL project had grown out of the World Bank’s Doing Business initiative after realization that it was important to understand the gendered dimensions of business environments worldwide. The WBL primarily gathers data through surveys completed by local lawyers in 141 countries. In its most recent WBL report, the World Bank found that only 38 out of 141 countries have full gender equality in the 45 key areas. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is the most unequal with all 14 countries having at least 10 legal differentiations. Iqbal also mentioned the strong correlation between the WBL and other measures such as the Global Gender Gap Index, the Women’s Economic Opportunity Index, and the Social Institutions and Gender Index. Finally, Iqbal reported that the WBL would start looking at the issue of sexual violence in the workplace in subsequent reports.