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. 

 1 FACT: The Afghan government proposed a bill that would transfer the operation of women’s shelters from independent women’s organizations to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Such an action would be detrimental to the safety of women victims of violence.

ACTION STEP: Aside from an oral statement made by President Karzai there has been no official withdrawal of the Bill yet. Take action.

FACT: In 2011 anti-choice representatives in Congress have introduced legislation that would eliminate funding for Title X, the nation's family planning program.

ACTION STEP: Call on legislators to vote NO on any attempt to cut family planning funding.

FACT: There are no women in Egypt’s Constitutional Committee, a body formed with the mandate of drafting the new constitution following the ousting of Hosni Mubarak. Read more.

ACTION STEP: It is critical that Egyptian women be part of the drafting of their new constitution and that women’s equality and non-discrimination are included in the new constitution as among its core principles.

FACT: Over 250 rapes, in various camps, were reported a mere 100 days after the earthquake first struck Haiti. Many women and girls were raped multiple times, often by several men at once. The international as well as local responses to safeguarding women and girls from sexual abuse continue to be inadequate.

ACTION STEP: The UN, its agencies and the international donor community have a responsibility to include the protection of women and girls and the prevention of sexual violence in their plans. Write to OCHA and express your concern about the threat of increased violence against Haitian women and girls.


FACT: Research has indicated that funding for women's rights organizations is dwindling and has revealed a need for urgent strategies to reverse this trend.

ACTION STEP: Please show off your commitment to women's rights and support our work by purchasing an Equality Now t-shirt, mug or hat.


FACT: There are about 264,000 child domestic servants in Pakistan, most of whom are girls trapped in employers’ homes with little or no pay, deprived of education, health care or a childhood.

ACTION STEP: Call on Pakistan to ban domestic work for children.


FACT: As of January 1, 2011 only 30 countries had women heads of state.

ACTION STEP: Is your government facilitating access to women’s political participation? Find out how it can appoint more top-level women in government.


FACT: Bride kidnapping or abduction and forced marriage occurs in several places including Ethiopia, Chechnya, and Kyrgyzstan.

ACTION STEP: Urge these and other governments to take all appropriate steps to enforce bans on bride kidnapping/abduction and forced marriage.


FACT: In Uganda’s Bukwo and Kapchorwa districts, elders prepared to genitally mutilate over 200 girls during December 2010, despite the ban on FGM.

ACTION STEP: Call on Uganda to enforce its anti-FGM law.


FACT: Fewer than 25% of op-eds in newspapers are written by women.

ACTION STEP: Write and/or encourage your women friends to write an op-ed in your local newspaper.