Why Gender Equality
Since 1992, we’ve been fighting for gender equality around the world. We’ve helped create the legal and political changes that have made women’s rights an integral part of human rights.
Championing Legal Equality
In 1995, nations around the world pledged to end sex discrimination in the law. Since then, holding governments accountable to this pledge has been the core of our work. Equality Now’s first campaign for gender equal laws began in 2000, and since then more than 50 of the laws we’ve highlighted have been repealed or amended. We’ve also helped inspire an ever growing number of organizations and international legal networks to join the cause.
2007: Reframing FGM as violence, not culture
Equality Now advocated for female genital mutilation (FGM) to be viewed as a human rights violation long before it was on the global agenda. Our efforts with partners have led to groundbreaking change within communities, across nations and at the highest international levels, including a landmark 2012 UN Resolution on eliminating FGM. Today, most countries where FGM is practiced have laws against it and more and more communities are being inspired to end FGM altogether.
2008: Advocating from the Ground Up
Equality Now’s work reflects the priorities that our grassroots partners have identified as critical to advancing women’s and girls’ rights in their communities. We use every opportunity to elevate their work nationally, regionally, and internationally; build groups’ abilities to use the law in their advocacy; and to facilitate collaboration between partners. Equality Now has more than 200 partners worldwide, all working towards a just world for women and girls.
2009: Targeting the Roots of Sex Trafficking
Equality Now confronts tough issues no matter how divisive they are. We combat the sex trade by targeting buyers, traffickers, brothel owners and pimps, while also advocating for survivor support services. We led a coalition to pass the Palermo Protocol and have helped countries adopt strong laws criminalizing demand. Our advocacy resulted in the first US law criminalizing sex tourism and the first US federal civil action against a sex tour operator exploiting girls overseas.
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2010: Promoting African Women’s Rights
In collaboration with civil society groups and African Union institutions, Equality Now worked to strengthen provisions of a draft African Women’s Rights Treaty that would ultimately become one of the most progressive and comprehensive legal instruments on women’s rights – the Maputo Protocol. As Secretariat for the pan-African Solidarity for African Women’s Rights Coalition (SOAWR), we’ve helped train thousands of state officials, activists, and legal practitioners to effectively use the treaty to safeguard
2011: Making Justice Systems Work for Girls
Equality Now is the only international organization that uses strategic litigation to protect the legal rights of girls. We created our Adolescent Girls’ Legal Defense Fund in 2008 to spotlight the most extreme, pervasive abuses and prevent girls from being re-victimized by the legal systems that are there to protect them. To keep girls safe at home, in schools and in communities, we’ve taken on cases that have set precedents and changed laws, court procedures, and lives.
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2012: Elevating Survivor Voices
Recognizing that the experiences of survivors of violence and discrimination are often disconnected from the laws and policies that affect them, Equality Now works to amplify their first-hand knowledge through legal and media advocacy. We both make sure that their views are part of legislation development process, as well as securing opportunities for survivors to connect directly with policymakers. Our advocacy with survivors has led to positive change across all of our focus areas.
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1992-2012: READ MORE ABOUT SOME OF EQUALITY NOW'S KEY ACHIEVEMENTS AND MILESTONES ON THE PATH TO GENDER EQUALITY ›