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Individuals: How you can unlock women’s potential 

In every part of the world, laws still exist that discriminate on the basis of sex and/or gender.

Legal discrimination on the basis of gender violates fundamental human rights and prevents women and girls from reaching their full potential.

Sexist laws also limit economic growth by restricting access by millions of women and girls to education, employment, and property ownership.

In Brazil, women are required by law to retire earlier than men.

In China, women are legally prohibited from engaging in certain trades, including any which the State specifies female workers “should avoid.”

In Madagascar, women are forbidden by law from undertaking any form of night work, except in family establishments.

In Cameroon, a husband can legally administer and dispose of his wife’s property.

In Chile, there is a legal presumption that a husband will have full control of all marital property, as well as any property owned by their wives.

In Sri Lanka, a married woman is restricted from disposing of and dealing with property such as land, without the written consent of her husband.

In Tunisia, laws exist that limit women’s inheritance rights, and provide that any sons inherit twice as much as daughters.

By unlocking every woman’s full potential, ending legal discrimination leaves communities everywhere free to break the cycle of poverty, boosting global productivity and stimulating economic prosperity across all nations.

At Equality Now, we believe that full legal equality is an achievable goal. 

Over the past 30 years, we have contributed to the elimination or progressive amendment of 85 discriminatory laws worldwide.

In 2020, the government of Switzerland committed to undertaking a review of inequalities between women and men in Swiss federal law following ongoing pressure from Equality Now over laws around paid parental leave.

In 2021, we successfully advocated for the reversal by the US Government of a directive that banned transgender persons from serving in the military. 

Also in 2021, our work contributed to the partial removal of legal restrictions on the types of work women in Russia are allowed to engage in.

We collaborate with regional and national partners, drawing upon the collective wisdom of a large and diverse community of women and feminist organizations and combining it with our own legal expertise and resources.

In the US, organizations serving women and girls receive just 1.8% of all charitable giving. Yet research by the World Bank shows that every dollar invested in gender equality delivers a return of $7 to $12 for the economy. 

That’s why, in 2024, we ask you to help us unlock the potential of women everywhere by investing in legal equality.

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