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150 Celebrity Influencers Have Put Global Leaders “On Notice” With an Open Letter Demanding Gender Equality


trudeau one poverty is sexist g7

The Time’s Up movement has brought a great deal of attention to issues of gender inequity, especially those of pay disparity and workplace harassment and assault. Despite the fact that these are global issues–and even though the movement was sparked by an open letter from 700,000 farmworker women–the vast majority of that attention has been focused on celebrities.

While I can’t fault the women (and some decent men) in Hollywood for trying to clean up their own industry, some are using their platform to try to bring attention to issues of inequity around the globe.

The organization ONE, which fights to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, published an open letter demanding world leaders examine and take action regarding the sexism behind extreme global poverty. The letter was published back in March, on International Women’s Day, but since then, it’s gained the signatures of more than 150 celebrities, activists, and other prominent figures. To name just a few, it’s been signed by Chadwick Boseman, Chelsea Clinton, Daisy Ridley, Danai Gurira, David Oyelowo, Emilia Clarke, Gina Rodriguez, Issa Rae, Kumail Nanjiani, Letitia Wright, Oprah, Thandie Newton, and Zendaya.

The letter reads:

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.

The letter is addressed to the world’s leaders, but there’s a specific campaign targeting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as he’s a few weeks out from hosting the G7 summit, where gender equality is already listed as a planned subject of discussion.

As of writing this, nearly 140,000 people have added their name to letter in addition to those 150 public figures, though there are plenty criticizing celebrities for signing the petition rather than “putting their money where their mouth is.” And sure, maybe signing a letter is literally the least they can do, but we’re talking about issues of global, systemic inequity. That’s not an issue that can be solved by even the mega-wealthy throwing money at it.

You can add your name to the letter here.

(image: GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.