Belfast Telegraph

Oprah and Meryl Streep among stars calling on leaders to address gender equality

Almost 140 activists, including actors Daisy Ridley, Letitia Wright and Chadwick Boseman, have signed an open letter.

Stars from across the world of entertainment have penned an open letter to world leaders demanding an urgent push for global gender equality.

Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep and Chadwick Boseman have joined forces with British counterparts including Letitia Wright, Michael Sheen and Thandie Newton to back the call which is being led by the ONE campaign.

The letter warns leaders they are being put “on notice” and asks for a commitment to help every girl get an education.

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A Wrinkle In Time European Premiere – London

It hits out at inequality between women and men, particularly in the poorest countries of the world.

Amy Poehler, Amy Schumer, Chelsea Clinton and Ryan Reynolds are also among the 140 signatories – as well as Neil Patrick Harris, Natalie Dormer and Robin Wright.

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.”

Nashville star Connie Britton is also one of the signatories, and said more is needed to be done to empower those who are overlooked in the wake of the Time’s Up movement.

““We have seen an astounding level of attention paid to the harmful impacts that sexism and systemic gender inequality have on our society,” she said.

“We must do more to lift up and empower those who are most overlooked, so that every girl and woman has access to an education and to the same opportunities as their fellow brothers. This year, it is my hope that all of us, especially our leaders, join in the fight for full equality.”

Romilly Greenhill, UK director of the One Campaign, said: “Girls’ education is essential in the fight to end extreme poverty, and ensuring every girl gets the chance to learn is the key to unlocking their huge potential.

“Until we’re able to break down the barriers holding girls and women back on a global level, extreme poverty and gender inequality will continue to exist.”

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