100 STEPS TO EQUALITY

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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. 

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FACT: Child marriages continue to be prevalent in many parts of the world despite clear evidence that such marriages have severe negative physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual and sexual implications on children..

ACTION STEP: 18 years must be set as the minimum age of marriage for women in:

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FACT: Current laws in Syria do not treat "honor killings" as murder but, rather, impose a light sentence with a minimum of five years with a ceiling of seven years maximum. The punishment for murder in Syria is hard labor for 20 years.

ACTION STEP: Demand the Syrian government impose stricter punishments on men who injure or kill a wife, sister, mother, or daughter they discover engaging in alleged sexual activities.

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FACT: In December 2010 over 5,000 girls were at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation in Tanzania's Tarime district, this in spite of an anti-FGM law there.

ACTION STEP: Tanzania must tighten enforcement of its anti-FGM law.

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FACT: For the last 5 years activists have been trying to pass an anti-trafficking law in Hawaii with no success. Hawaii is one of only five remaining states in the U.S. without an anti-trafficking law.

ACTION STEP: Hawaii must pass legislation that would criminalize both sex and labor trafficking in 2011.

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FACT: In Algeria while marriages are dissolved by the "will of the husband," women's access to legal divorce is severely restricted.

ACTION STEP: Call on Algeria to amend its Family Code such that women have equal rights within marriage.

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FACT: Current U.S. efforts to address violence against women globally are fragmented, piecemeal and uncoordinated and attempts to introduce a comprehensive plan to address the issue failed in 2010.

ACTION STEP: Urge the United States Senators and Congresspersons to support the passage of the International Violence Against Women Act in 2011.

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FACT: Despite a high prevalence rate, The Gambia has not yet outlawed FGM .

ACTION STEP: The Gambian authorities must pass and implement a law criminalizing FGM.