“Poverty is sexist”, writes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, once again bringing gender inequality to the forefront of public discourse.
Last week Trudeau penned an open letter to the ONE Campaign, an organization founded by U2’s Bono to foster maternal and child projects in developing countries. In the letter Trudeau called for world leaders to recognize the link between poverty and gender inequality.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am writing back to let you know that I wholeheartedly agree: poverty is Sexist.” wrote Trudeau.
The Prime Minister’s letter continues to highlight the work being done in his administration, “As a feminist, I know that women must be treated equally everywhere. That is why, as one of my first actions as Prime Minister, I named a gender balanced Cabinet. It is my hope that this will set an example for governments around the world.”
Trudeau also re-announced that Canada will be hosting the Global Fund Replenishment Conference — also co-founded by U2’s Bono — in September and has increased Canada’s contribution to the fund to $785 million. The Global Fund focuses on eliminating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis all of which disproportionately affect women and young girls in the underdeveloped regions of Africa.
“Women and girls are less likely to get an education, more likely to be impoverished, and face greater risk of disease and poor health.” Writes Trudeau. This commitment, the Prime Minister continues, will push Canada towards a “new global policy that prioritizes equal treatment of girls and women.”
The letter closes by calling upon the leaders of the world to join him at the Global Fund conference with both ambitious goals and investments, “Canada can play an important role, but we need other leaders around the world to step up, too.”
Trudeau’s call for action comes just in time for the upcoming Montreal conference, which will be the last public stage international donor’s will have to announce their funding commitments for the next three years.
The ONE campaign originally sent an open letter to the leaders of the world. The letter was first signed by many prominent women, including Oprah Winfrey, Melinda Gates, Tina Fey, Meryl Streep, and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.
The Global Fund’s goal is to raise $13 billion for the 2017-2019 cycle, which they claim will be enough to save eight million lives and prevent 300 million new infections. Last year’s conference was held in Washington D.C., and is being held this year in Montreal.
This conference is an opportunity for Canada to expand upon its new found global influence, and encourage other nations to join the Campaign and commit funding for the next three years.
“Hosting this summit is a savvy move by a Trudeau government looking to change the tone of Canada’s leadership on the world stage.” Said ONE Campaign’s Canadian director Stuart Hickox.
Madi Fuller, Contributor