Equality Now Discusses Anniversary and New Campaign for Women Worldwide
I have been personally supporting this POWERFUL organization for over 10 years. Please read this impactful interview with Equality Now. NOW is the time for women to support one another globally and rise up to support gender equality.
Wf1: How do you define the word authenticity in your life and your world? Who are your models of authenticity and why?
EN: At Equality Now, authenticity means listening to voices of our grassroots partners around the world, and helping to elevate their concerns and recommendations regionally, nationally and internationally. These women and girls represent an authentic voice for change and will always be the most knowledgeable on the best methods to achieve that change in their communities. It is very important to us that they aren’t ignored or misrepresented.
Equality Now believes strongly in partnerships, coalition-building and reciprocity in the exchange of information and ideas to the benefit of all women and girls.
Wf1: Tell me about Equality Now’s mission and history. How does it relate to serving the world? Tell me about your organization’s struggles that got you to where you are today.
EN: Equality Now was founded in 1992 to protect and promote the human rights of women and girls around the world. From a small group of dedicated volunteers, we have grown to an organization with offices in New York, Nairobi and London, presences in Amman, Jordan and Washington DC, and we have members and supporters in more than 160 countries. Despite differing cultural contexts, issues affecting women and girls are universal in nature; therefore maintaining a global outlook is imperative.
During our 20+ years, we haven’t been shy about taking on difficult issues and steadfastly advocating for change, despite strong resistance. We were created at a time when mainstream human rights organizations failed to identify abuses against women as human rights violations. FGM, access to contraceptives, sex discriminatory laws, domestic violence and sex tourism – these were not issues of global concern for the human rights movement. We take pride in the fact that Equality Now and our global partners helped change that, and remain committed to achieving legal and systemic change that addresses violence and discrimination against women and girls everywhere.
Wf1: In a few sentences, what is Equality Now’s future vision for the world at large?
EN: Equality Now envisions a world where women and men have equal rights under the law and full enjoyment of those rights; a world where the value and importance of gender equality is recognized as vital to achieving peace and security around the world.
Wf1: Is there any specific project you are working on that you want to share that is new and exciting for women?
EN: If you haven’t heard of our Survivor Stories project, I encourage you to visit www.equalitynow.org/survivorstories. Launched in March 2013, it is a yearlong campaign that features first-hand narratives from survivors of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation from around the world. The campaign provides a forum for survivors to shape the conversation and be a part of the solution, and provides readers with related actions they can take to support the anti-trafficking and exploitation movement. Survivors’ voices demonstrate strength, courage and activism; Equality Now and our partners hope that readers will listen to their voices and advocate for change.
We are also taking part in Gucci’s “Chime for Change” campaign, which works to “promote education, health and justice for every girl, every woman, everywhere.” We have several projects under their justice platform on Catapult, the crowdfunding platform for the campaign that is dedicated to equality. Our current projects include our Adolescent Girls’ Legal Defense Fund and ones addressing sex trafficking, child marriage and sex discriminatory nationality laws. On June 1, Chime for Change is holding a global concert event focused on issues affecting to women and girls in London. Fans get to decide where the money goes. Please help us spread the word about our projects: https://www.catapult.org/partners/partner/1952/public. Your support would be greatly appreciated!
Wf1: What is one piece of wisdom that you would most like to share with our community?
EN: Gender equality benefits everyone, and as such everyone should take part. To achieve it we must first have gender equal laws.
We hope you will get involved and help us make a difference —https://www.equalitynow.org/get-involved
Please speak up and speak out – let your voices be heard!
FROM EQUALITY NOW’s SITE:
Our Guiding Principles:
- Gender equality: as human beings women and girls should have equal rights to men under the law and equal opportunity to enjoy their human rights.
- Universality: despite differing cultural contexts, issues affecting women and girls are universal in nature. Therefore, maintaining a global outlook is essential when forming collaborations, including coalitions that can influence local as well as national and international processes and standards.
- Reciprocity in partnerships: the fundamental value guiding our partnerships and networking with grassroots groups and activists is reciprocity in exchange of information and ideas. We believe that our value in these partnerships is to provide an international overlay of support to ongoing processes.
- Standing by our principles: We are ambitious in the types of issues and cases that we take on – many of these are seen as controversial, infinitely complex and/or hopeless. However, our past history shows successes in affecting the legal frameworks and mind-sets in cases such as these; we are not afraid of taking risks if we believe that we can have a significant positive impact.
Our Methods: Equality Now employs a social change model that links high level international and legal advocacy to specific cases of women and girls to ensure change at all levels.
- International advocacy, including through mobilization of our network
- Awareness-raising through highlighting individual cases of violations and use of traditional and social media
- Partnerships and coalition-building with grassroots level women’s rights groups
- Strengthening international and regional human rights law and mechanisms to better address the rights of women and girls
- Conducting strategic litigation at national, regional and international levels to establish legal precedents
- Mobilizing financial and capacity-building support
Legal advocacy is necessary for the creation of sustainable and systemic change for women and girls; by publicizing individual stories, while at the same time providing support and legal advice to the partners and networks who take on cases, Equality Now has a proven track record of contributing to breakthrough results.