Feminine freedoms


“, Calibri, Helvetica, Roboto, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;”>In many parts of the world, women are unable to move freely. Freedom of movement is not only a human right―emphasized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 13)―but is also an economic imperative. When countries impose legal restrictions on women’s ability to move freely, do not provide workplace flexibility for parents with children or fail to protect women from sexual harassment in public places, women’s economic empowerment is impaired. Social norms may also limit women’s ability to move freely and get a job or start a business.

On 2 February 2016, the Empower Women team and the World Bank Group’s Women, Business and the Law team co-hosted a Google Hangout followed by a two week e-discussion focused on the regulatory and social constraints on women’s ability to move freely, and the importance of freedom of movement for women’s economic empowerment. Experts and discussant were Katrin Schulz (World Bank Group), Nisha Arekapudi (World Bank Group), Julie Babinard (World Bank Group), Hemant Ramachandra (PwC), Andrea Milan (UN Women), Ursual Wynhoven (UN Global Compact), and Jacqueline Gichinga (African Centre for Legal Excellence). The following is a summary of key highlights from this important discussion.