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#PovertIsSexist: The ONE Campaign

By Simeon Christian Chukwu

In 2015, ONE, an international campaigning and advocacy organisation with more than 7million members taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable diseases, particularly in Africa, started a campaign on poverty is sexist around the world. The overall idea is to bring to the level of government and stakeholders around the world about how investing massively in girls and women lifts everyONE out of poverty more quickly. This was done through an online petition signing; about the second biggest petition of all time.

It is staggering to note that more than 60% of malnourished people in the world are female. About 60million girls are not educated. Half a billion women can't read or write according to the CEO of ONECampaign, Adrian Lovett. This is more rampant in developing countries like Nigeria. For instance, if in a family of 4 with two kids (a male and a female) and the family could only afford to send ONE of the kids to school; they will most likely send the male child at the expense of the female child - simply because poverty is sexist. This further plunges the girl child to living a world of limitation. A world of limitation is a world of poverty. But if we end poverty for women and the girl child, we end poverty for everyONE, and if we don't act now, the world will remain poor.

Interestingly, world leaders gathered at the United Nations Headqaurters in NewYork on the 25th of September 2015 to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, ONE of which is to end poverty, hunger and inequality worldwide. Poverty and gender inequality go hand-in-hand as girls and women in the poorest countries are disproportionately discriminated against. It is time to act now!

ONE Youth Ambassadors from around the world also gathered in Paris, France 2016 to remind world leaders that poverty is sexist and it should end with our generation, and that we need to turn words into action. Poverty is sexist because women are denied the same equal opportunities like men. Poverty is sexist because girls and women suffer twice over, by being born both in poor countries and as females.

Poverty is sexist because poverty hits women more than men. This has got to stop because without empowering the girl child, you can't end extreme poverty. Without women, you cannot grow the economy. Without women, you cannot grow a family. Without women the world is incomplete.

The answer to poverty and extreme poverty is collective. It requires sincerity of purpose, total commitment alongside social and political will to achieve. The society must stop the classification of women as subordinates and give them equal opportunities. There is so much that this generation wants to do.

We have recognised that that there is little we can achieve without women. We just want to live a life of endless opportunities for everyone irrespective of gender or race. You can see from our lifestyles globally that we want to do something differently.

We've seen the old system where women and girls are consigned to sexual objects, classified as weaker vessels and kitchen CEOs. But all of that didn't work. Our generation has got to stop it. We want to be the first generation in history to end extreme poverty. We want to look back in 15yrs (duration of the SDGs) to come and say yes! We did it. We want to have fun, an all inclusive fun. We desire a change.

Nigeria is a wealthy nation and we can do more for inequality (equity) and poverty. That is why Nigerian celebrities like Waje, Omotola Jola-Ekeinde, Yemi Alade, Xtianrooy, Asa, Banky W et al' have all joined ONECampaign in this growing campaign. If you empower a woman, you empower a whole continent. We are not going to end extreme poverty if we don’t empower women and girls. The fight against extreme poverty is achievable. Until then, poverty is sexist!

Simeon Christian Chukwu
Follow @ Xtianrooy

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