World Bank report highlights female discrimination

The World Bank has since 2002 documented bureaucratic barriers to business around the world from licensing requirements to predatory tax regimes.

自2002年以來世界銀行(World Bank)記錄了全球種種官僚商業壁壘,比如許可證要求和掠奪性稅收制度。

But in its latest Doing Business report, the bank offers what for many countries — and half their population — is an important question: why is it so much harder for women to do business than men?

但在世行最新《營商環境報告》(Doing Business)中,該行提出了一個對許多國家——以及它們的半數國民——而言重要的問題:為什麼女人做生意比男人難得多?

For the first time, economists at the World Bank this year sought to measure the regulatory environment for female entrepreneurs in starting a business, property rights and enforcing contracts. Those findings were used as part of the ranking of the 190 countries covered by the report.


「In 155 economies women do not have the same legal rights as men, much less the supporting environment that is vital to promote entrepreneurship,」 said Paul Romer, the World Bank』s new chief economist.

世行新任首席經濟學家保羅?羅默(Paul Romer)表示:「在155個經濟體里女性不具有與男子相同的法律權利,更不用說對促進創業至關重要的支持環境。」

The growing consensus among economists and policymakers is those sorts of obstacles matter economically.


According to the World Bank, about a third of small and medium-size enterprises in emerging markets have at least one female owner. But their average growth rate is significantly lower than male-owned businesses because they lack ready access to credit and face other forms of discrimination.


In the Middle East and north Africa the gender gap in entrepreneurship results in an income loss of almost 30 per cent, according to the bank, with even Europe seeing a 10 per cent loss in income.


The bank』s researchers found 23 economies where women faced a different process to set up a limited liability company, 16 where women did not have the same property rights as men and 17 where if a woman did not have the same legal standing as a man in court.


They found the most restrictive laws in the Middle East and Africa. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, married women need their husband』s permission to set up a business. In Benin, women need to present a marriage certificate to get the identification documents needed to eventually register a business.


The World Bank also collected data on whether countries had requirements for women to serve on corporate boards and found nine economies where that was the case including France, Germany, Italy, Norway and India. But the bank decided not to include laws requiring female board members as part of its scoring because the evidence on the value of such laws remains mixed.


According to the bank, for the first time in a decade the world』s best place to do business was somewhere other than Singapore, with New Zealand topping the rankings and the Asian island state falling to second place. Somalia, which was included for the first time this year, was last among the 190 economies ranked.


This year』s rankings also include disappointing news for other big economies.


India, where the government of Mahendra Modi has put its Doing Business ranking at the heart of reform efforts, did not budge in the rankings, coming in 130th and improving its score only marginally.

雖然納倫德拉?莫迪(Narendra Modi)政府已把本國的營商環境排名放在改革努力的核心位置,但印度的表現並未出現太大起色,排在第130名,僅有略微提升。

China, which has sought to eliminate the rankings in the past, moved up six places to 78th place but remained below developing economies such as Azerbaijan, Jamaica and Mongolia.


Augusto Lopez-Claros, director of the World Bank』s Global Indicators Group, said researchers this year had documented a record 283 reforms in 137 of the 190 countries covered. Encouragingly, he said, 80 of those reforms had come in countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

世行旗下全球指標小組(Global Indicators Group)負責人奧古斯托?洛佩斯-克拉羅斯(Augusto Lopez-Claros)稱,研究人員今年記錄了排名包括的190個國家中137個國家創紀錄的283項改革。他說,令人鼓舞的是,其中80項改革發生在撒哈拉以南的非洲國家。


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