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Since 1992, our international network of lawyers, activists, and supporters has held governments responsible for ending legal inequality, sex trafficking, sexual violence & harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation (FGM) & child marriage.

Women’s rights have come a long way in the last thirty years, and we’re proud of our part in that.

Reforming discriminatory laws. Almost 60% of the discriminatory laws we’ve highlighted since 1999 have been fully or partially reformed.

Ensuring the law frames sexual violence in line with human rights standards. Since the release of our 2017 report, The World’s Shame: The Global Rape Epidemic, we’ve continued to analyze gaps in laws regionally and engaged in international and regional mechanisms to hold governments accountable.

Enshrining protection from trafficking in international law. In 2001, we led a coalition for the passage of the Palermo Protocol, the leading international guide to combating trafficking. We continue to contribute to creating and sustaining gendered narratives on sex trafficking and sexual exploitation at the international level, and calling for the UN to ensure that its policies are in alignment with international law.

Our impact in 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping the globe in early 2020, it became clear that women and girls would be disproportionately affected: around the world. We know that the virus didn’t create inequality – it simply turned up the volume.

That’s why our response has been to step up our work using the power of the law to dismantle deep-rooted discrimination and inequality.

Achieving Legal Equality

  • We drew attention to the urgent need for progressive family law reform through our leadership in the launch of the Global Campaign for Equality in Family Law.
  • Our global advocacy report Words and Deeds, which marks 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, prompted governments around the world to acknowledge and change discriminatory laws.

Ending Harmful Practices

  • In 2020, we continued to advocate for the legal and systemic changes required to protect women and girls from female genital mutilation (FGM) with the launch of our global advocacy report, ‘FGM/C: A Call for a Global Response’ that highlighted the globalised nature of FGM.
  • We successfully defended the Prohibition of FGM Act 2011 in Kenya from a constitutional challenge.
  • Our years of support to Unchained at Last and the US End Child Marriage coalition paid off as another two states changed their legal minimum age of marriage to 18.

Ending Sexual Exploitation

  • With the pandemic leaving women and girls exponentially vulnerable to sexual exploitation, in 2020, we coordinated a joint submission to the UN Secretary General, calling for prioritization of the needs of prostituted and trafficked women and girls.
  • We also received long-awaited acknowledgment from the CEDAW Committee that a lack of appreciation of the gendered dimensions of sex trafficking is a key factor contributing to its widespread persistence.

Ending Sexual Violence

  • We made significant progress towards our strategic objective to enhance legal protections and improve access to justice for survivors around the world.
  • We published a report on caste-based sexual violence in India, which included urgent recommendations for action.
  • Our activism in Georgia led to meaningful engagement with both the government and the media regarding sexual violence
  • Our legal victory at the ECOWAS Court of Justice finally secured access to education for pregnant girls in Sierra Leone.
Celebrating victory in Sierra Leone

With your support, we will continue to use the power of the law to challenge governments to end systematic discrimination, creating enduring equality for women and girls everywhere.

Explore our latest impact reports