The Letter You Really Need To Read On International Women’s Day

Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Amy Poehler and Sir Elton John have penned an open letter to world leaders

What do Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey, Amy Poehler, Sir Elton John, Mark Ruffalo, Sheryl Sandberg and Muhammad Ali all have in common?

Apart from being internationally influential entertainers and culture-shapers, they have also all put their names to an open letter penned to mark International Women’s Day that puts pressure on world leaders to tackle the issue of global gender inequality.

This campaign, which you can add your own name to, was conceived by anti-poverty charity, ONE (co-founded by U2 singer Bono).

The mission is to spread this message as far and wide as possible: ‘we won’t end extreme poverty without ending global gender inequality’.

The reality is that the most disadvantaged people in the world are women and girls: ‘poverty is sexist’.

Here is the letter in full:

‘Dear World Leaders,

Nowhere on earth do women have as many opportunities as men. Nowhere.

While the debate around this truth rages everywhere, girls and women living in extreme poverty – those often hit hardest by the injustice of gender inequality – have been left out of the conversation.

This must change. The fight for gender equity is global.

Some 62 million girls are denied the right to education. Half a billion women can’t read. 155 countries still have laws that discriminate against women.

Last year, you signed up to end extreme poverty, and because poverty is sexist, you promised to tackle the gender inequality that keeps people poor.

This year, there are a series of historic opportunities to test your commitment and to make meaningful progress by delivering:

– Funding in 2016 at the Nutrition for Growth and Global Fund Summits to help girls and women fight HIV and malnutrition, because it is an outrage that girls account for 74% of all new HIV infections among adolescents in Africa and 40% of women on the continent suffer from anaemia which results in 20% of maternal deaths;

– Policies which support female economic empowerment: access to electricity, connectivity, education and justice, so girls and women have the right to own property, start a business and decide when and whether to marry;

– Better data on the girls and women we can’t see, don’t know exist and therefore can’t yet deliver for.

International Women’s Day must be about advancing girls and women everywhere.

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The letter has also been signed by Condoleezza Rice, Charlize Theron, Colin Farell, Thandie Newton, Katie Holmes, Ruby Rose, Patricia Arquette and Tina Fey. And the list of supporters is growing by the hour… 

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