A lot of gender discrimination is informal and cultural, but some of it is still entrenched in legal norms. Often those norms are justified on the basis of a vague narrative about the need to protect women. That’s the case of many laws prohibiting the employment of women in certain sectors of the economy. Such limitations exist in 48 countries. The human rights consequences are numerous:
- These limitations violate the right to work.
- They also make women dependent on the income of their husbands, and this dependence can be used by husbands to entrench other forms of gender discrimination.
- Labor market restrictions force women into marriages they would otherwise not choose, and they probably encourage child marriage.
- Because women live longer, tend to have smaller saving rates and are not allowed to inherit in certain countries, labor market restrictions can result in poverty in old age.