Person

Everyone should read this open letter from celebrities to world leaders ahead of International Women's Day

Posted by Bethan McKernan in people

Ahead of International Women's Day on Tuesday, public figures from around the world including Oprah Winfrey, Tina Fey and Caitlin Moran are uniting to urge world leaders to act on promises to end extreme poverty.

One of the most effective ways to raise living standards for everyone is to invest in girls and women - girls who get seven or more years of education on average marry four years later and have 2.2 fewer children.

The ONE Campaign, an advocacy organisation that focusses on ending extreme poverty and preventable disease in Africa, released its first 'Poverty is Sexist' report last year.

For 2016, ONE is calling for progress to be made in specific areas concerning women's rights and opportunities, including nutrition, education, and participation in decision making.

Later this year the international community will be meeting for the Nutrition for Growth Summit, and renew contributions to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

ONE and its celebrity supporters see these two opportunities as a chance to kickstart the beginning of the end for extreme poverty:

Sheryl Sandberg, Bono, Charlize Theron and Condoleezza Rice are just a handful of the 70 public figures who are backing ONE's open letter to world leaders, which you can read in full below, and sign yourself here.

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.


More: Poverty is bad for your health. So is escaping it

More: Global warming will act as a tax on poor countries and give to the rich, study claims

Keep scrolling for next article