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Hewson wants change with 'poverty is sexist' letter


Ali Hewson

Ali Hewson

Ali Hewson

Humanitarian and global activist Ali Hewson is part of a cohort of influential women across the world, including Meryl Streep, Beyonce, Sheryl Sandberg and Lady Gaga to back advocacy group ONE's campaign for world leaders to put girls and women centre stage in 2015.

This year, world leaders are aiming to agree new global goals to set the development agenda for a generation, and a group of the world's leading female lights have put their signatures to a powerful letter demanding change.

The letter has been written for the attention of Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chairwoman Dlamini-Zuma - who are key decision-makers this year, and are hosting conferences on the topic - and it powerfully asserts how "poverty is sexist".

The women in the campaign say girls and women must be at the heart of the fight to end extreme poverty, and explain that unlocking women's economic potential could improve the lives of everyone.

In the letter they write that change needs to come: "For the girl who can't go to a decent primary or secondary school or access healthcare; for the mothers threatened with death when they give life and 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. 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."

In June, the chancellor and chairwoman will chair key summits in Germany, and South Africa, which will be followed by the unveiling of new goals in New York in September.

Sunday Independent