In 1995, at the UN’s 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, governments from around the world agreed on a comprehensive plan to achieve global legal equality, known as the Beijing Platform for Action. Our founders were in Beijing 25 years ago, and every day since we’ve continued to call for the recognition of the fundamental human rights of women and girls.
25 years later and gender equality is far from being realized.
Since 1999, Equality Now has updated Words & Deeds every five years. The report highlights explicitly sex discriminatory laws affecting women and girls and other vulnerable people over the course of their lives that need to be reformed. Today we’ve released our 5th Words and Deeds report.
The laws highlighted include:
- marital status (marriage, divorce, polygamy, wife obedience);
- personal status (citizenship, weight of court testimony, travel, prostitution);
- economic status (inheritance, property, employment, retirement); and
- violence against women and girls (rape, domestic violence, “honor” killings).
This time we are particularly focusing on sex discriminatory family laws, including codified, religious and customary family laws. This area of legal inequality, in matters of marriage, divorce, property rights, inheritance, is one of the remaining blocks to achieving gender equality globally. Religious, cultural and ethnic identity make this a difficult area to address.
YOUR WORDS AND DEEDS TO DO LIST
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the law says the husband is the head of the household.
Section 103 of Tunisia’s Personal Status Code limits daughters’ inheritance rights and provides that any sons inherit twice as much as daughters.
In Russia, the labor law automatically bars women from being employed in 456 types of work.
In Paraguay, the law prescribes a lower penalty, a fine, for sexual offenses against adolescent girls between the ages of 14 – 16 than for rape of a child or a woman.