The Economist summed up the importance of women’s empowerment last September by pointing out, in an article entitled “Societies that treat women badly are poorer and less stable”, that “[o]rushing women doesn’t just hurt women; it hurts men too.
It should be noted that the empowerment of women has made considerable progress in a number of countries. Yet many other nations still have a long way to go to establish societies that uphold women’s dignity, as well as their political and economic participation.
So what would be the real practical solution to ensure greater empowerment of women around the world?
There is considerable evidence that the best environment to promote this is a free market economy that emphasizes the rule of law, effective regulation and open market policies.
The World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2022 report, released on March 1, highlights the importance of women’s economic empowerment and involvement in business. The annual study, which examines “laws and regulations affecting women’s economic opportunities”, scores and ranks 190 countries in eight areas: mobility, earnings, parenthood, assets, workplace, marriage, entrepreneurship and pensions.
According to the 2022 report, “nearly 2.4 billion women worldwide have no [the] same economic rights as men.
Examining these results with the findings of the Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom reveals the importance of economic freedom in promoting women’s greater social participation and quality engagement in economical activities.
For example, Ireland – the third most economically free country in the world, according to the recently released 2022 Index – scored a perfect 100 on the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law Index. , supporting the idea that free market economies empower and enable women to make their own life choices.
Likewise, the world’s seventh most economically free economy, Estonia, received a 97.5 out of 100 on the World Bank’s index.
In contrast, economically “mostly unfree” countries, such as China and Russia, in the Heritage Index scored below the global average of 76.5 on the 2022 “Women, Business” Index. and the law”.
Because these economically unfree countries do not have reliable and effective rule of law, regulatory efficiency or open markets, and generally have governments that interfere in people’s lives, women can be victimized. oppression and even abuse.
While the Women, Business and the Law Index does not directly answer the question of how to create an equal society, the report points out, in line with The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom, the importance of strong property rights and a judicial system. integrity and effectiveness in creating an equal and prosperous society for women and men.
In countries where the rule of law is well respected, women tend to “exploit their assets for economic gain, increasing their financial security and providing them with the guarantees necessary to start a business”.
Good practice laws are strongly associated with increased economic empowerment for women, with a more egalitarian legal environment linked to a higher proportion of female entrepreneurs, according to the Women, Business and the Law 2022 report.
Unfortunately, in countries where the rule of law is ignored and disrespected, women are usually the first to be given the end of the stick. They are discouraged from contributing to the market because there are no laws that protect and advance their entrepreneurial freedom and capacity.
While a strong rule of law is essential to women’s equality, so is effective regulation, including freedom of business, work and money; and market-opening policies, such as trade, investment and financial freedom.
The Heritage Foundation’s annual index shows how effective regulation encourages entrepreneurship, and when women are given the opportunity to creatively and freely enter the market as buyers and sellers, economic growth results.
Indeed, economic freedom is the proven foundation for empowering women with more and better opportunities. Ensure that this foundation empowers women to uphold their dignity, own their work and exercise their entrepreneurship to the fullest extent possible.
The best and most pragmatic way to empower women is to recommit ourselves to policies that strengthen the economic freedom of women and, indeed, of all of us.
This piece originally appeared in The Daily Signal