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100 Steps to Equality For the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2011, Equality Now has launched the 100 Steps to Equality campaign. We know that globally one in three women has faced some form of violence or abuse; 3 million girls in Africa are at risk of FGM every year, and that an estimated 500,000 women die of pregnancy-related causes annually. But what does the status of women look like on the ground every day in different parts of the world?  The following is a compilation of facts and concrete ACTION STEPs, however small, that we can each take to reach towards equality and a better world for women and girls. Whether it is putting pressure on government officials, contacting your local news agency, making a donation or simply learning more about an issue and sharing it with friends, let us make a pledge to take a step towards equality. Happy International Women’s Day!

NOTE: This campaign was launched for the 100th anniversary of international women's day on March 8, 2011 and therefore some of the issues highighted here may have changed. 

FACT: Australian law explicitly allows discrimination against women in Defense Forces in relation to combat duties.

ACTION STEP: Urge Australia to change discriminatory provisions in laws applicable to women in the Defense Forces.

FACT: In Iran, Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani a 43-year old woman sentenced to death by stoning continues to linger in prison, and the status of her case is still unclear, despite international protests to commute the sentence.

ACTION STEP: Iran must commute Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani’s death sentence and stoning sentences of 7 other women in prison for adultery. Iran must also prohibit all cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments.

FACT: India's anti-trafficking law does not address the demand for prostitution despite the well known fact that demand for women and girls in the commercial sex industry fuels sex trafficking.

ACTION STEP: India must amend its Immoral Traffic Prevention Act such that it criminalizes the demand for prostitution.


FACT: Employment practices in Bolivia allow women to work only during the day and limit women's employment to nursing and domestic services.

ACTION STEP: Change laws to allow for increased and fair employment opportunities for women in Bolivia take a stand against sex trafficking and exploitation in the sex trade.


FACT: African anti-FGM grassroots groups, although resilient, innovative and resourceful are highly under resourced.

ACTION STEP: Watch Equality Now's "Africa Rising," a film about grassroots anti-FGM efforts. Organize a house party and raise money for the FGM Fund.


FACT: The UN has never had a woman Secretary General. In the 65 years of its existence all of the UN's nine Secretary Generals have been men. Read about our past campaign on this issue.

ACTION STEP: The UN must prioritize the appointment of women in positions of leadership including Secretary General.


FACT: Despite numerous horrific reports of abuses and even deaths of girl child brides in Yemen, the parliament stalled all efforts to establish a minimum age of marriage there in 2010.

ACTION STEP: Keep up the pressure on the Yemeni government to set 18 as the minimum age of marriage for girls in Yemen.


FACT: Rape occurs in the US military at double the rate of the civilian population, while one-third of women veterans ó at least ó were victims of rape or sexual assault while serving in the military, according to the Veterans Medical Center.

ACTION STEP: Urge the Department of Defense to take immediate and appropriate measures to end a culture of impunity for sexual abuse in the military and make it a safe space for US servicewomen.


FACT: The United Nations estimates at least 160 women are being raped every week in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu in the Demcoratic Republic of Congo.

ACTION STEP: Support the Panzi Hospital, a health facility providing care for women victims of violence in the Congo.


FACT: In Latvia, pregnant women and women who have given birth less than a year before seeking employment are prohibited from working nights.

ACTION STEP: Ensure an end to the legal ban on womenís night work in Latvia.