Why Oprah and Meryl Streep have penned an open letter on gender equality to world leaders

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Susan Devaney
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Many high profile figures in the entertainment industry have come together to pen an open letter to the world’s leaders urging them to do more for gender equality. 

Since we entered 2018, women across the world have continued to make great strides in our fight for gender equality. From the #MeToo movement to the Time’s Up initiative and calling out the gender pay gap problem, the year ahead looks to be on the right track.

This is why celebrities have come together to keep pushing for change by penning an open letter to all world leaders calling on them to take urgent action against gender equality.

The letter, led by international charity ONE, has already been signed by 140 signatories. From high profile names such as Oprah Winfrey and Meryl Streep, the celebrities are putting political leaders “on notice” until they act.

Within months, celebrities – including Reese Witherspoon, Amy Schumer, Chelsea Clinton and Ryan Reynolds - want to see a commitment to help every girl get an education and for leaders to use their power to deliver “historic changes for women”.

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.”

Lauren Dern, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley wore black at this year’s Golden Globes in support of the Time’s Up initiative. 

The equality gap between genders would take an estimated 100 years to close, according to the World Economic Forum

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.”

You can sign the open letter here.

Images: Getty / Rex Features