Profile on Our Transformation Partner: Equality Now

By Ellen Weiss, Transformation Partnership Writer


Together Women Rise recognizes that in order to truly achieve global gender equality, we must address the social and cultural norms, beliefs, practices, and laws that prevent women from having equal access to resources, decision-making power, and opportunity. Rise’s Transformation Partnerships are specifically designed to address the root causes of global gender inequality.

Together Women Rise has awarded a Transformation Partnership Grant in the amount of $100,000 per year for two years (2023 and 2024) to support the work of Equality Now.

Equality Now campaigns for legal and systemic change to address violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world. Since its founding in 1992, Equality Now has been a global leader in using a unique combination of legal advocacy, regional partnership-building, and community mobilization to create campaigns focused on realizing a more just and equal world for women and girls.


Click HERE to watch a short video about

Equality Now’s Theory of Change.


“Equality Now is an excellent partner for Together Women Rise in our mission to cultivate the collective power of community to achieve gender justice worldwide,” said Beverley Francis-Gibson. “We strongly support how Equality Now uses the power of the law to dismantle deep-rooted discrimination and inequality around the world, and how it works with local partners – often small, indigenous organizations as on-the-ground implementers. In fact, Equality Now works with many of the same organizations that Rise has funded through our Featured Grants program.” (See story below about how Equality Now worked with a former Rise grantee, A Breeze of Hope Foundation.)

Equality Now focuses on four critical goals: ending harmful practices, ending sexual exploitation, ending sexual violence and achieving legal equality. In some cases, Equality Now’s campaigns begin in response to the situation of a specific individual, but all campaigns seek to improve the situation of the very many women and girls that are affected by the same issues.


The following is one example of Equality Now’s work in Bolivia to end sexual violence:

On January 19, 2023, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I/A Court H.R.) delivered a landmark ruling that will improve access to justice for millions of child and adolescent victims of sexual violence and prevent discrimination and revictimization during the judicial process in Bolivia and elsewhere. Equality Now was instrumental in bringing the case before the I/A Court H.R.

The case focused on Brisa De Angulo, who is the CEO of A Breeze of Hope Foundation, a 2016 Together Women Rise Featured Grant recipient. Brisa was raped repeatedly by an adult relative starting when she was 15 years old. She endured three trials but received no justice in the Bolivian courts. Brisa used every legal avenue available to challenge the judicial system that denied her justice.

Brisa’s experience with Bolivia’s criminal justice system is typical of the struggle for adolescent survivors of sexual violence. Bolivia has the highest recorded rates of sexual violence in Latin America, but there is only a 2% rate of conviction for sexual assaults on children.

This was the first time that the I/A Court H.R. had heard a case about a State failing to uphold the human rights of an adolescent victim of incestuous rape The Court’s decision was notable in that it included every one of Equality Now’s recommendations, establishing extraordinary feminist and progressive legal precedent. The key outcomes of the verdict include:

  • changing rape laws to consent-based rather than force-based;
  • abolishing Estupro laws that shield rapists;
  • classifying incest as a separate crime as well as an aggravating factor in punishment considerations; and
  • new protocols for investigators and prosecutors.

Additionally, sanctions will likely be applied to the officials who breached Brisa’s rights, and the issuance of a public apology to her and other survivors who were denied justice.

Going forward, Brisa and Equality Now are working with the Bolivian government on how to design and implement stronger laws. These and other outcomes will be monitored as part of Equality Now’s Transformation Partnership grant from Together Women Rise.


Other Resources

You can learn more about Brisa’s story and the Breeze of Hope Foundation HERE and by watching this CNN video. In 2018, Brisa was nominated for a CNN Heroes Award.

You can learn more about sexual violence against adolescent girls in Bolivia by clicking HERE.

You can learn more about Equality Now’s work to end sexual violence HERE.


Please note: Together Women Rise will be highlighting the work of Equality Now throughout the month of February 2024, and will provide a series of learning materials for our chapters across the U.S.