There are only 14 countries in the world which offer full legal protections to women, according to the report Women, Business and the Law 2023, recently published by the World Bank. Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and Sweden as well as Germany and the Netherlands were the nations offering full equal rights for men and women, at least from a legal perspective.
Germany and the Netherlands were the newcomers among those rated at 100 points this year. Both countries equalized parental leave entitlements between the sexes. In the case of Germany, the law changes occurred before the past 12 months but the country received a revised score as part of this year's report, hitting 100 percent equality for the first time.
99 places out of the 190 assessed countries and territories ranked at 80 percent or above, up from 98 in 2022 and 94 in 2021. Saudi Arabia, which came in last as recently as 2019, has improved its score following new laws implemented in the country and now ranks 136th at 71.3 percent. The last place in the 2023 ranking went to the West Bank and Gaza (26.3 percent), ahead of Yemen (26.9 percent), Sudan (29.4 percent) and Qatar (29.4 percent).
The United States ranked at 91.3 percent below countries like Peru and Albania. It lost points because of a lack of laws guaranteeing equal pay and equal pensions in addition to having notoriously bad laws around parental leave.