As the #MeToo movement goes global, many nations are grappling with the need for reform so that women in the workplace are free from discrimination and harassment. The U.S. government is taking action as well: the House of Representatives just passed legislation to promote economic growth by eliminating barriers to women’s economic opportunities globally. This is not just a question of fairness, but of economics: one recent analysis estimates that $28 trillion could be added to global annual GDP by 2025 simply by leveling the playing field between women and men at work.
Despite the financial stakes, however, most countries still have laws and policies on the books that make it harder for women to work. According to a new World Bank report, over one hundred countries restrict the kinds of jobs women can hold, preventing 2.75 billion women worldwide from working in mining, energy, agriculture, or other industries.