Constitutional Protections for Equal Rights and Non-Discrimination
The WORLD Policy Analysis Center analyzed national constitutional texts in force as of May 2017.
Why consider constitutions?
Governments establish human rights through national and sub-national legislation, targeted programs and policies, and national constitutions. Among these tools, constitutions fulfill several unique and important functions:
Adult Labor Rights & Protections
The WORLD Policy Analysis Center reviewed original labor and social security legislation, complemented and verified by information on social security systems from each UN member state and global sources to collect information about policies for adult labor. The following sources were used to gather information on this subject:
Additional information to fill in gaps from the abovementioned sources was drawn from the following:
Initial data analysis has focused on national-level law and policy. In countries where labor policies are set at the state or provincial level, such as the U.S. and India, we coded based on the lowest level of guarantee.
Protection from Child Marriage
The WORLD Policy Analysis Center analyzed the following sources to establish the minimum age at which a girl or boy can be married with no restrictions in each country as of January 1st, 2019:
If information from the abovementioned sources was not available, the following sources were reviewed:
In some cases, hard copies and electronic copies of legislation were obtained from libraries such as the Swiss Institute for Comparative Law, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Law Library, the Harvard Law School Library, and the Northwestern University Library.
The database captures national-level legislation. In countries where minimum age of marriage laws are set at the state or provincial level, we coded based on the state or province with the lowest minimum age provisions.
Access to Education
The Education Database was created through a systematic review of national constitution, law and policy guarantees extended to public education. To construct the database, WORLD analysts reviewed:
All indicators reflect national-level constitutional, legislative, or policy guarantees. In countries where guarantees are set at the state or provincial level, the database captures information for the state or province with the lowest level of protection.
Countries structure their education systems in many different ways. When countries do not split their education systems according to primary, lower secondary and upper secondary, we assigned these categories based on the available information on levels of schooling to increase comparability across countries. Stages of schooling were established as follows:
Indicators on tuition-free and compulsory education include constitutional guarantees to tuition-free and compulsory. Additional, dedicated constitutional rights to education are assessed separately, according to the process outlined on this Methodology page.
Preventing Workplace Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
The WORLD Policy Analysis Center reviewed original legislation and statutory protections extended to the private sector in labor codes, anti-discrimination legislation, equal opportunity legislation, and penal codes. Data is current as of January 2021 for variables focused on gender and sexual harassment, as of May 2018 for variables focused on disability, and as of August 2016 for 13 protected characteristics. Original, full-text, national-level legislation for all 193 United Nations member states was identified primarily using the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s NATLEX database. The World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law and other supplemental sources were consulted to ensure all applicable legislation was reviewed.
This data analysis has focused on national-level legislation; for countries that legislate at the sub-national level and have no federal policy in place, we coded based on the lowest level of protection set at the state or provincial level. This analysis captures legislative language that explicitly applies to private-sector workplaces, and excludes provisions that guarantee non-discrimination without specifying their applicability to work (such as protections which may apply to public spaces or educational institutions). In some countries, case law has extended the application of more general prohibitions to specific areas of work and to cover additional protected characteristics. However, systematic review of case law is outside of the scope of this analysis and rights extended through litigation are not reflected in these findings.
For details on the variables included in this category, please see WORLD global maps on Gender.
For more information about WORLD’s approach to building globally comparative databases on policies affecting human health, development, well-being, and equity, please visit our Methodology page.