Oprah Winfrey, Meryl Streep, and Charlize Theron are among a group of influential entertainers who have signed an open letter urging world leaders to fight for international gender equality.
According to the Associated Press, a letter released on Sunday by the ONE campaign, two days before International Women’s Day, points out that 155 countries have adopted laws that discriminate against women.
Additionally, 62 million girls around the world are denied the right to education, and 500 million girls are unable to read, the letter claims.
The letter, which was also signed by stars like Tina Fey, Robert Redford, Shonda Rhimes, Ashley Judd, Elton John, and Muhammed Ali, calls on leaders to help girls and women fight HIV and malnutrition and support female economic empowerment.
“Nowhere on earth do women have as many opportunities as men. Nowhere. The fight for gender equality is global,” states the letter, which also declares “poverty is sexist.”
ONE campaign operatives and other Twitter users sharing the letter on Monday were using the tag #PovertyIsSexist.
— Neven Mimica (@MimicaEU) March 7, 2016
— Kate Critchley 🇺 (@katecritchley) March 7, 2016
— Eloise Todd (@eloisetodd) March 7, 2016
— Asa (@Asa_official) March 7, 2016
— Aimee Giese (@Greeblehaus) March 5, 2016
— jeannine harvey (@strong_womxn) March 7, 2016
A report that was released with the letter claims poverty can be a death sentence for underprivileged women and girls.
“In too many countries, being born poor and female means a life sentence of inequality, oppression and poverty — and in too many cases also a death sentence,” reads the “Poverty Is Sexist 2016” report.
Zimbabwean-American actress Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), who also endorsed the letter, told the AP the potential of women and girls is being “blocked.”
“Enough is enough. We have to close this gap, and we have to make a concerted, focused effort and that requires speaking directly to the global leaders who have the power to make change,” Gurira said.