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#Reform 53 - together for legal equality is an advocacy campaign run by the Commonwealth Youth Gender and Equality Network (CYGEN) calling for the leaders of all 56 Commonwealth countries to reform laws that discriminate against women and girls and LGBT+ people, many of which are a colonial legacy.

In November 2019, 12 young activists from every region of the Commonwealth came together in Seychelles to discuss the case for legal reform, share best practice and devise this campaign. Together, they shaped an advocacy movement calling on Commonwealth leaders for change and working towards equality for women, girls and LGBT+ people. Now, they're asking you to join them. 

About the campaign:

The campaign aims to compel Commonwealth countries to commit to reforming laws that discriminate against women and girls and LGBT+ people. #Reform53 aims to spark conversations, commitments and actions toward achieving the following:

Decriminalising same sex relationships

Many Commonwealth countries criminalise consensual same-sex relationships. These laws are often a British colonial legacy, and foster a culture of violence, discrimination and marginalization against those of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. 

Reforming consent laws on forced marriage and removing clauses that defer to customary laws

Forced marriage remains a significant issue across the Commonwealth. In many countries, a high number of women and girls enter into marriage without their consent. Forced marriage is a form of modern slavery. 

Ensuing provisions in law for abortion by choice

In many Commonwealth countries it is a crime to have an abortion. These laws jeopardise the health and lives of millions of women of and girls who may risk an unsafe abortion. 

Ending workplace discrimination for women and girls and LBGT+ people

Across the Commonwealth, many women and people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities experience discrimination in the workplace. Few countries have laws that protect from discrimination at work. 

Increased political participation for women and LGBT+ people

Across the Commonwealth, many women and LGBT+ people are restricted from participating in politics. Despite some progress in women’s political representation, a gender gap still remains. In the case of LGBT+ people, many are unable to participate in politics at all. 

Send a message to Commonwealth leaders that the time for reform is now. Paint your palm with the equality symbol and share your selfie using #Reform53.

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