Legal Equality is the first step to gender equality. Equal treatment under the law is at the core of our mission because the law impacts every part of a woman or girl’s life. When women and girls can live free from violence and discrimination—when laws protect and uphold their human rights—everyone benefits.

 

Societies that treat women as equals are more peaceful and prosperous. However, though 192 countries assert equality and non-discrimination in their constitutions, every country in the world has laws that treat women and girls as second-class citizens. Legal inequality can prevent girls from going to school, or women from owning property, for example —and can even promote violence against them.

How To Achieve Legal Equality

International human rights law guarantees equal rights  and protections under the law for women and girls. Equality Now uses it to:

  • Advocate for governments and policymakers to enact and enforce laws that promote women's and girls' rights  
  • Hold States accountable to international human rights standards
  • Make the justice system works for women and girls
  • Elevate cases to national, regional and international courts and bodies
  • Inspire people around the world to fight for equality
     

Fight for equality: With your help, we can Make Equality Reality!
 

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Legal Equality
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Societies that treat women as equals are more peaceful and prosperous. However, though 192 countries assert equality and non-discrimination in their constitutions, every country in the world has laws that treat women and girls as second-class citizens. Legal inequality can prevent girls from going to school, or women from owning property, for example —and can even promote violence against them.

How To Achieve Legal Equality

International human rights law guarantees equal rights  and protections under the law for women and girls. Equality Now uses it to:

  • Advocate for governments and policymakers to enact and enforce laws that promote women's and girls' rights  
  • Hold States accountable to international human rights standards
  • Make the justice system works for women and girls
  • Elevate cases to national, regional and international courts and bodies
  • Inspire people around the world to fight for equality
     

Fight for equality: With your help, we can Make Equality Reality!
 

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Solidarity for African Women’s Rights

Africa is home to one of the most advanced legal tools on women’s rights—the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women (Maputo Protocol). Adopted in Maputo, Mozambique in 2003, the regional treaty has protections covering public and private life and extremely progressive provisions on ending violence against women, harmful practices, and in promoting reproductive rights and economic empowerment.

Equality Now is Secretariat for the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR), a coalition of 50 organizations in 24 countries pushing for all States use the Maputo Protocol to promote women's and girl's rights. The treaty sets a high standard, and with SOAWR, we’ve helped train thousands of activists, legal practitioners, and state officials to use it effectively. Through SOAWR efforts, we’ve achieved near universal ratification of the Protocol by African countries.
 

Legal change means social change – and it’s working.

Achieving legal equality helps us address all forms of injustice. Following the 1995 pledge of 189 governments around the world to end sex discrimination in the law, Equality Now has been advocating for governments to repeal or amend laws that treat men and women differently.

Over the years, Equality Now and our partners have made significant progress towards legal equality around the world.  

“Without equality in the law, there can never be equality in society.”  
Antonia Kirkland, Program Manager, Equality Now

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Legal Equality is the first step to gender equality. Equal treatment under the law is at the core of our mission because the law impacts every part of a woman or girl’s life. When women and girls can live free from violence and discrimination—when laws protect and uphold their human rights—everyone benefits.

Share quote: 

Solidarity for African Women’s Rights

Africa is home to one of the most advanced legal tools on women’s rights—the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women (Maputo Protocol). Adopted in Maputo, Mozambique in 2003, the regional treaty has protections covering public and private life and extremely progressive provisions on ending violence against women, harmful practices, and in promoting reproductive rights and economic empowerment.

Equality Now is Secretariat for the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR), a coalition of 50 organizations in 24 countries pushing for all States use the Maputo Protocol to promote women's and girl's rights. The treaty sets a high standard, and with SOAWR, we’ve helped train thousands of activists, legal practitioners, and state officials to use it effectively. Through SOAWR efforts, we’ve achieved near universal ratification of the Protocol by African countries.
 

Legal change means social change – and it’s working.

Achieving legal equality helps us address all forms of injustice. Following the 1995 pledge of 189 governments around the world to end sex discrimination in the law, Equality Now has been advocating for governments to repeal or amend laws that treat men and women differently.

Over the years, Equality Now and our partners have made significant progress towards legal equality around the world.  

“Without equality in the law, there can never be equality in society.”  
Antonia Kirkland, Program Manager, Equality Now