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Data: World Bank Group; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Only six countries have laws that give women equal economic opportunity to men: Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg and Sweden, according to a new World Bank report.

Why it matters: The global average scores showed that, on average, women are afforded only three-quarters the legal rights of men in the categories chosen for the study. And legal opportunity is the bare minimum, as laws do not solve discriminatory societal pressures or cultural biases.

All nations studied made progress in legal equality over the past decade, but "this is just a first step in the right direction," Rita Ramalho, a lead author of the report, told Axios.

  • The U.S. isn't even in the top 60 nations for legal environments that promote women in business.
  • 35 nations have implemented laws against sexual harassment in the workplace over the past decade. In the past two years, the #MeToo movement has spread from the U.S. to the world, drawing attention to toxic work environments for women.
  • 33 economies introduced laws that require businesses to offer paid paternity leave. The U.S. has no federal paid family leave policy.
  • Sub-Saharan African nations saw some of the biggest gains in legal equality over the past decade. But it is largely because many of these nations were so far behind the others 10 years ago, according to the study's authors.

The big picture: Where there are more laws protecting equal opportunity, there is higher participation among women in the workforce and they get paid more, the report found.

"This is an equality issue. But behind it is very much an economic issue, an economic argument."
— Rita Ramalho

About the study: The World Bank looked at laws that allow women to move, start a job, get paid, marry, have children, run a business, manage assets or receive a pension as easily as men.

Go deeper: U.S. women are now more educated than men, but lag in workforce

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 18,187,396 — Total deaths: 691,352 — Total recoveries — 10,841,436Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 4,711,323 — Total deaths: 155,379 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  4. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
  5. 1 🎥 thing: "Tenet" may be the first major film to get a global pandemic release.

In photos: Thousands evacuated as Southern California fire grows

A plane makes a retardant drop on a ridge at the Apple Fire north of Banning in Riverside County, which "doubled in size" Saturday, per KTLA. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A massive wildfire that prompted mandatory evacuations in Southern California over the weekend burned 26,450 acres and was 5% contained by Monday afternoon, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The big picture: As California remains an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., some 15 separate fires are raging across the state. About 7,800 people were under evacuation orders from the Apple Fire, about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, as hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze. CalFire said Monday that a malfunction involving a "diesel-fueled vehicle emitting burning carbon from the exhaust system" started the Apple Fire.

Twitter faces FTC fine of up to $250 million over alleged privacy violations

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket

The Federal Trade Commission has accused Twitter of using phone numbers and emails from its users to make targeted ads between 2013 and 2019, Twitter said in an SEC filing published Monday.

Why it matters: Twitter estimates that the FTC's draft complaint, which was sent a few days after its Q2 earnings report, could cost the company between $150 million and $250 million. The complaint is unrelated to the recent Twitter hack involving a bitcoin scam.