Lady Gaga & Beyonce Claim “Poverty Is Sexist”, Petition World Leaders To End Epidemic

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No, that is not the title of a new collaborative track between Mother Monster and Queen Bey. Is it actually the title of a report that was signed by a string of high-profile and powerful women from around the world in order to put the pressure on certain world leaders to do more for the cause of ending poverty.

Lady Gaga and Beyonce were joined by Meryl Streep, Sheryl Sandberg, Rosamund Pike, Angelique Kidjo, Sarah Silverman, financiers Ann Cairns and Mimi Alemayehou, along with politicians from Kenya, Germany and South Africa to urge politicians who are combating poverty to put women and girls at the center of this battle.

There were 35 signatories altogether who signed the open letter spearheaded by charity organization One which was co-founded by musician Bono and is focused on ending extreme poverty around the world and in Africa in particular.

The “Poverty is Sexist” report was presented at the recent Women of the World conference in London held from March 1-8. The letter is addressed to two world leaders in particular. The first is German Chancellor and champion for women’s rights Angela Merkel, who will be playing host to the G7 summit in June. This is significant because as host she gets to decide what gets talked about and the types of actions taken.

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The second world leader is Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, head of the African Union which will also be holding the next AU Summit in the South African capital of Johannesburg in the middle of the year.

These women are the key to sharing vital information that will equip their fellow world leaders to implement solutions to ending poverty.

The open letter begins by reminding these women of their important positions and how both summits will happen just before the historic global summit on how to finance the new Sustainable Development Goals in Addis Ababa, which will be followed by the unveiling of these goals in New York in September.

“The timing is such that if your summits reach the right agreements, great financing and momentum around girls and women’s empowerment can be placed at the heart of the new global goals. That in turn will frame how global policies are decided, and trillions of dollars spent, over the next 15 years,” state the collective of women.

“For the girl who can’t go to a decent primary or secondary school or access healthcare, or who is forced to marry while still a child; for the mothers threatened with death when they give lifeand who aren’t allowed to decide when to have their next child; for the women who can’t own or inherit the land she farms, nor open a bank account, own a phone, access electricity or the legal system; for the infant girl who doesn’t legally exist because her birth wasn’t registered and the government hasn’t the capacity to collect data on her or her village; for the women and girls who can’t take those who are violent towards them to court nor access justice – let’s make sure they all count.”

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Eloise Todd, director at ONE, said it was time to “unleash the human, social, political and economic potential” of women. “When citizens raise their voice it can make leaders keep their promises,” she said.

Sheryl Sandberg said she was happy to embrace the campaign. “When it comes to poverty, everyone suffers – women and men, girls and boys. But the crushing blow of poverty often falls heavier on females. If we get this right for women, everyone will be better off.”

The first female president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf agrees that poverty is sexist because she has seen it all too often.

“Too often women and girls are worst hit by poverty and left to carry its burdens. But investing in them is also so often the solution. This year through the AU and G7 Summits…through the Addis Ababa financing summit…let’s ensure that investing in women and girls is central to the strategy, and let’s call on a generation of women around the world to unite for this essential and transformative call to action.”

The open letter states point blank that “poverty is sexist” and it won’t end unless world leaders ad global citizens face up to this fact and work together for change. It also goes on to say that if we do all work together, by 2030 women and girls could be lifted out of poverty.

“Get this wrong and extreme poverty, inequality and instability might spread in the most vulnerable regions, impacting all our futures. The choice is obvious and we know where you stand personally. But the course you set as leaders in this historic year will be critical in either creating momentum or slowing it down.”

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“In 2015 let’s all have the courage to demand better and follow through with the resources and policies that it will take to end extreme poverty by 2030. Millions of girls and women around the world will applaud your decisiveness – and will help ensure the promises made this year are truly kept into the future.”

It may sound a little bias that there is no mention of lifting the men out of poverty, but when women and girls are assisted into a life of abundance, everyone benefits. The fact of the matter is that although women make up half of the world’s population they make up 70% of the world’s poor, and two thirds of illiterate adults around the world are women.

Poverty disproportionately affects women and girls, but it is also well-known that when women are empowering economically, and have access to health services and education, their entire families and communities benefit.

It is time for world leaders, not just females, to put the global empowerment of women at the top of their priority list, as it has been identified as the key to ending poverty. Imagine the difference each influential leader could make if they did their part in creating sustainable solutions for women in Africa, and other war-torn, poverty-stricken regions.

It’s 2015, and poverty needs to be eradicated. Poverty is not just sexist, it is outdated and it needs to be vanquished.

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2 Comments

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