In commemoration of this year’s International Women’s Day, influential figures across the globe have urged world leaders to end extreme poverty by investing in girls and women.
Top among the influential figures who have added their voices to the campaign are Oprah Winfrey, Muhammad Ali, D’Banj, Melinda Gates, Femi Kuti, Charlize Theron, Yemi Alade and Bono. Other are Selmor Mtukudzi, Vanessa Mdee, Victoria Kimani, Amy Poehler, Danai Gurira, Angelique Kidjo, Shonda Rhimes, Jessie J, Colin Farrell and Robert Redford . Influential figures These influential figures have also signed ONE Campaign’s open letter which shows the incredible strength of feeling across the global community for leaders to step up for girls and women everywhere. New analysis in ONE’s 2016 Poverty is Sexist report ranks the toughest countries in which to be born a girl, with Republic of Niger topping the list, followed by Somalia and Mali. Sixteen of the 20 countries that top the list are found in Africa, making it imperative for African leaders to fast-track efforts in improving women’s development. Pop star, D’banj said, it will be very pleasant if more girls had the chance to grow up to be empowered women, where all women went to school and were not forced into early marriages. “Extreme poverty is choking the potential of generations of young women in the developing world. Poverty is sexist. It hits girls and women harder than it does boys and men, creating a real urgency that world leaders must address. Women need to be better empowered, especially in areas such as agriculture and healthcare, so that they can contribute their best to the development of Nigeria. Women need better access to land, inputs, better maternal healthcare, among others. That’s why I’m raising my voice and asking others to do the same.” Grammy award-winning singer and activist, Angelique Kidjo said “The future of Africa is in the hands of its young women. If they are educated, they will educate their communities. If they are healthy, they will ensure others grow up healthy. If they are empowered, they will change the world. We can break the cycle of poverty, but we have to invest in girls and women to do it.”