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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: Japan does not permit a woman to remarry for a six month period after divorce. (This rule does not apply to women who become pregnant before their marriage is ended.)

ACTION STEP: Guarantee that women in Japan are provided with the right to marry if and when they choose.

FACT: 83 per cent of Egyptian women and 98 per cent of foreign female visitors experience sexual harassment in Egypt.

ACTION STEP: Egyptian authorities must stiffen penalties against sexual offenders, and implement a law that criminalizes all forms of sexual harassment.

FACT: Sex trafficking is integrally linked to the demand for commercial sex and feminist activists across the world are working to end sex trafficking by addressing demand for women and girls in the sex trade.

ACTION STEP: Watch a film made by our partners: Maiti Nepal's "The Day My God Died," or Apne Aap's "The Selling of Innocents" and consider supporting Equality Now's Trafficking Fund to support the vital work these groups do.


FACT: In Israel, divorce can only be initiated by the husband under religious law.

ACTION STEP: Call on Israel to amend its marriage laws so that women have equal access to divorce regardless of their religious affiliation.


FACT: Polygamy is still allowed by law in some countries.

ACTION STEP: Seek security for women within marriages by demanding that men no longer have more than one wife in:


FACT: Yemeni wives are forced by law to completely submit to the authority of their husbands in matters such as physical intimacy and movement within and outside the home.

ACTION STEP: Demand equality within marriage for women in Yemen.


FACT: On average only one in six cabinet ministers is a woman worldwide.

ACTION STEP: Monitor your local politics and consider supporting women candidates or groups working to increase women's participation in decision-making processes.


FACT: Estimates indicate that there are over 950,000 child brides in Iran. The legal age for marriage in the Islamic Republic is 9 (for girls) and 13 (for boys). The young brides are often sold into marriage by their parents and the husband in most cases is much older than 13.

ACTION STEP: Iran must establish 18 as the minimum age of marriage for both girls and boys.


FACT: The Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter (BDK) (Association of German Criminal Officers) warns that 5,000 girls are under the threat of genital mutilation in German.

ACTION STEP: Urge the German authorities to follow in the footsteps of countries like UK and France and take all appropriate measures to safeguard girls from being subjected to FGM, by raising awareness, increasing investigations and prosecutions, and publicizing cases.