SEATTLE — Some of the world’s most influential celebrities are stepping up and challenging the gender gap and global poverty. On May 21st, over 140 famous activists, actors, business leaders, athletes and philanthropists signed an open letter demanding world leaders to take immediate action to close the gender gap and combat global poverty.
“Poverty is Sexist” ONE Campaign
The letter is part of the “Poverty is Sexist” campaign led by ONE, an advocacy organization co-founded by U2 singer Bono and consisting of more than nine million people around the world. These people take action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa.
A range of celebrities signed the letter – from talk show host, actress and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Other public figures who back the letter challenging the gender gap and global poverty include former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Chadwick Boseman, Madeline Albright, Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon, Oby Ezekwesili, Chelsea Clinton, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Sheryl Sandberg, Issa Rae, Letita Wright, Bono, Amy Schumer, Ryan Reynolds, Thandie Newton and Meryl Streep.
Celebrity Letter Challenging the Gender Gap
As the gender gap is wider for women living in extreme poverty, this letter aims to spread awareness on sexism in poverty and to increase world leaders’ commitment to helping every girl get an education.
The letter states: “Dear World leaders, we’re putting you on notice. For 130 million girls without an education. For one billion women without access to a bank account. For 39,000 girls who became child brides today. For women everywhere paid less than a man for the same work. There is nowhere on earth where women have the same opportunities as men, but the gender gap is wider for women living in poverty. Poverty is sexist. And we won’t stand by while the poorest women are overlooked. You have the power to deliver historic changes for women this year. From the G7 to the G20; from the African Union to your annual budgets; we will push you for commitments and hold you to account for them. And, if you deliver, we will be the first to champion your progress. We won’t stop until there is justice for women and girls everywhere. Because none of us are equal until all of us are equal.”
From artists to activists, educators to students and business leaders to politicians, ONE’s nine million members come from all around the world and from many different backgrounds. ONE’s members work closely with African activists and policymakers to prioritize the fight against poverty, corruption, AIDS and preventable diseases.
ONE also campaigns to increase investments in agriculture and nutrition, bring energy access and demand greater transparency in the extraction of resources in developing countries and poverty-fighting programs.
Fighting the Good Fight
ONE does not make grants and they do not seek funding from the public or receive government funds. The advocacy organization is funded almost entirely by foundations, individual philanthropists and corporations.
Regarding the “Poverty is Sexist” campaign and letter, ONE President Gayle Smith has stated, “Until we’re able to break down the barriers holding girls and women back on a global level, extreme poverty and gender inequality will continue to exist.” There’s hope for the future reduction of the gender gap and global poverty if people across the world continue their current effort and prioritization of such important issues.
– Natalie Shaw