Beyonce has written a feminist essay in response to the annual Shriver Report, which has found that 42 million American women - one in three - are living in poverty or are on the brink of it.
The singer has been reluctant to label herself a 'feminist' in the past. In 2012 she told Harper's Bazaar: “I need to find a catchy new word for feminism, right? Like Bootylicious." When Vogue persisted on the subject last year, she relented - slightly - proclaiming: "I guess I am a modern-day feminist. I do believe in equality."
It's that belief that drives the theme of her essay, Gender Equality Is A Myth! in which she calls for both men and women to rally against workplace inequality, stating: "Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect."
Beyonce's essay for The Shriver Report:
"We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the US workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.
Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.
We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 percent of the opportunities."
By Beyonce Knowles-Carter
Download The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink here for free from January 12 – January 15.