Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Meryl Streep among high-profile women to sign open letter calling for female empowerment in global poverty battle

ONE collected the signatures to send to influential leaders Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

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The Independent Online

Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Meryl Streep and Rosamund Pike are among the high-profile women to sign an open letter calling for female empowerment in the global fight against poverty.

The group of 35 famous names, also including politicians and financiers, argues that women “get a raw deal” in international efforts to combat hunger and injustice and that, without gender equality, there will be no lasting change.

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The letter is addressed to German chancellor Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chair of the African Union, both of whom will head crucial meetings this year to set the priorities for future development goals.

Charity ONE collected the signatures to urge the leaders’ focus to be on women after launching its ‘Poverty is Sexist’ report last week.

The letter asks Merkel and Dlamini-Zuma to give a voice to “the girl who can’t go to a decent primary or secondary school or access healthcare; the mothers threatened with death when they give life and who aren’t allowed to decide when to have their next child; 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; the infant girl who doesn’t legally exist because her birth wasn’t registered…the women and girls who can’t take those who are violent towards them to court nor access justice”.


“Put simply, poverty is sexist, and we won’t end it unless we face up to the fact that girls and women get a raw deal,” the mission statement continues. “Realising women’s rights helps deliver everyone’s rights.”

ONE’s hard-hitting report reveals that a woman in Sierra Leone is 183 times more likely to die giving birth than a woman in Switzerland, according to the Guardian.

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