Poverty is Sexist. <-- everything is wrong with this sentence. Get ready to do something about it.
I have this backlog in my brain at the moment of all of the things I want to share with you all... from my thoughts on two of the overly-distinct boxes authors must choose between, to yesterday's congregation of political and/or activist luminaries in Selma, Ala. I'm planning on addressing all of these over the next week or two (because, let's face it; if you follow my blogging at all you know that book and essay writing, among other things, have significantly slowed my posting speed!). I don't want to let this beautiful Sunday get away from me without letting you all know about something that's kicking off today. Something BIG.
Today - Sunday, March 8, 2015 - is International Women's Day, a global day of recognition shared by developed and developing countries alike. It's meant to honor the achievements of women across the world while also acknowledging how far we still have to go to achieve a universal recognition of women's rights at home and in the workplace. In many countries this has become an official holiday where men honor their mothers, wives, daughters, friends, etc. with flowers and small gifts.
The fact is, however, that here in the United States and pretty much every country in the world, women and girls are the most impacted by poverty. Here are just a couple of nuggets from the mountain ranges of information proving this:
- The United States is 1 of 9 countries worldwide that doesn't provide for paid maternity leave, leaving low-income mothers who don't have benefits to face some frightening and harmful choices.
- Women in many countries complete equal or higher levels of education than their male counterparts, but are much less likely to work in executive management or decision-making roles.
- More than 1 out of 7 women in America lived in poverty in 2013. That's nearly 18 million women struggling to feed and protect themselves and their families.
What's to be done?
The ONE Campaign, demanding excellence in swift action from world leaders, has been involved with the multinational and well-publicized quest to end extreme poverty by 2030. It only makes sense that a large part of this strategy would involve improving the lives of girls and women through some major activism. Today ONE released an open letter, signed by 35 high-profile women including Lady Gaga, Meryl Steep, Charlize Theron, Lauren Bush Lauren, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and many more. The letter is addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will lead the G7 Summit in Germany in June, and Chairwoman Dlamini-Zuma, who will lead the African Union Summit in July. This letter asks these two female world leaders to use their influence to create and solidify agreements among nations that will finance and create momentum around the empowerment of women and girls, lifting them out of extreme poverty by 2030.
The very idea of this fires me up. Women, as grandmothers, mothers, aunts, cousins and daughters, naturally set the tone for a family's success because in most cases they are the ones with the most access to the future, otherwise known as the children.
If women are lifted up, everyone is lifted up.
The name of the campaign to rally for girls and women is "Poverty Is Sexist." These are words we don't have to be saying in 15 years. You don't have to be able to bring down the house at the Super Bowl or win Academy Award to get in on this action. ONE is running a petition to go along with the high-profile letter that will also be seen by world leaders. You don't want me to sing into a microphone for a crowd (trust me, but that doesn't mean I won't try!), but you can bet I signed that petition. You can (and should), too. All you have to do is click here to sign it and also read the letter that will be presented at the G7 and AU summits.