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Executive Summary for March 8th

On International Women’s Day, we bring you stories of the women striking for gender equality, plus new research on the best places for a woman to run a business and secure financial independence.

Published on March 8, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Spanish Women Strike for Gender Equality

Women across Spain have marked International Women’s Day by going on strike to protest gender inequality. There will be 120 street demonstrations around the country.

A poll by El Pais found that 82 percent of Spaniards support the collective action, designed to highlight pay disparity, unequal care provision and violence against women and girls. In Spain, women earn 13 percent less than men and spend almost twice as much time doing unpaid work.

Iceland’s famous women’s strike in 1975 led to sweeping changes in working conditions for women, and today the country has the world’s smallest gender gap.

The Best and Worst Countries for Women to Run a Business

New Zealand is the best place in the world for a woman to run a business, a new study of business conditions for women has found. The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs gave New Zealand a score of 74.2 out of 100 in its second annual ranking; the country also ranked in first place last year.

While developing countries such as Ghana have some of the highest entrepreneurship rates – 46 percent of businesses in the country are run by women – the study’s authors point out that many such enterprises are started out of a basic need to survive, rather than being reflective of welcoming conditions for women.

Barriers to entrepreneurship were found in all 57 of the countries studied, with gender discrimination cited as the major factor holding women back. The lowest ranked country on the list was Saudi Arabia.

What Leads to Financial Inclusion for Women

Structural barriers, unfair laws and harassment can all lead to women being excluded from having bank accounts and accessing other financial services, a new working paper from the International Monetary Fund has found.

The paper’s authors note that gender gaps in financial inclusion persisted at all levels of development, and all levels of education, with low- and middle-income countries being worst affected.

As well as structural factors such as a country’s GDP, the sophistication of its financial sector and its population density, legal barriers preventing women from working, heading households, holding property and inheriting were found to be a major factor in exclusion from financial services. Harassment was also identified as a major driver of exclusion.

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