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Policy-Makers: 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.

This legal discrimination 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.

Pursuing full economic equality represents a straightforward strategy toward a swift, robust, and more equitable recovery for everyone.

But there can be no economic parity without universal legal equality.

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.

Legal discrimination on the basis of sex and/or gender can be found in every country in the world – even in those that are considered to be progressive.

In the United States, discrimination against women is still not explicitly prohibited in the Constitution, with sex yet to be categorized as a “protected class” alongside race, religion, and national origin through the rightful incorporation of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).

We need your help to end sex discriminatory laws.

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