Women in Iran are paid less than three-quarters of the salaries paid to their male compatriots, the World Bank said in a study published February 28. In terms of economic equality for women, Iran ranks 185 out of 187 countries included in the study, behind only Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
The study, titled "Women, Business, and the Law 2019: A Decade of Reform,” examined ten years of data, exploring how the economic decisions women make are affected by the law. It examined 35 indicators of equality, covering topics ranging from property ownership and inheritance laws to job protections and pension policies, as well as rules governing marriage, movement, travel, pay, and personal safety.
In addition to being ranked against other nations, the countries included in the study were given scores on a 100-point scale. The Islamic Republic obtained only 31.25 points, while the global average score is nearly 75. Among the countries Iran fell behind in the scoring are the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa and Uzbekistan in Central Asia, both of which scored 70 points.
“If women have equal opportunities to reach their full potential, the world would not only be fairer, it would be more prosperous as well,” World Bank Interim President Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement.
The six countries that received a perfect score of 100, Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg, and Sweden, were found to give women and men equal legal rights in the measured areas. However, none of these economies garnered the maximum score a decade ago, indicating they have all implemented reforms in the meantime.
The report also shows progress over the past ten years overall, with the average score rising from 70 to 75. The reports authors attributed this gain to laws and regulations passed over the last decade allowing greater inclusion of women. The report cited 274 reforms in 131 countries.
The report found that 35 countries have proposed laws against sexual harassment in the workplace, granting protections to an additional two billion women, while 22 nations have abolished restrictions that kept women out of certain industrial sectors.
According to the World Bank, Iran is the second largest economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region after Saudi Arabia, with an estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016 of $412.2 billion.