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Canada and its Strong Stance on Sexism in Poverty
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently condemned sexism in poverty in response to a letter by the ONE Campaign. The open letter was released by Bono and the ONE Campaign on International Women’s Day in March. It was signed by some of the most influential women in the world, including Charlize Theron, Cheryl Sandberg and Angelique Kidjo.

Trudeau is the first world leader to formally respond, addressing the campaign thus: “On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am writing back to let you know that I wholeheartedly agree: Poverty is Sexist. Women and girls are less likely to get an education, more likely to be impoverished, and face greater risk of disease and poor health.”

According to Melinda Gates, one reason poverty is sexist is time. It takes time to finish an education, learn a new life skill or start a business. Men in developing countries are more likely to have access to this time because women are responsible for the vast majority of unpaid housework. There are also more tangible barriers restricting women’s ability to work, whether in the form of laws barring women’s employment or a lack of access to child care for working mothers.

Trudeau had the opportunity to lead by example when Canada hosted the Fifth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund in Montréal on Sept. 16. The conference brought global health leaders together to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. According to Trudeau, such collaboration is an important step to ending sexism in poverty because young women account for 74 percent of all HIV infections among adolescents in Africa.

Canada has increased its contribution to the Global Fund by 20 percent to $785 million CDN, all of which will go toward providing mosquito nets, medication and therapy. The Global Fund aims to save millions of lives and prevent hundreds of millions of new infections by 2019.

According to the ONE Campaign, nowhere in the world do women have the same opportunities as men do, a fact due in part to the sexism inherent in poverty. Trudeau’s response is one of many steps needed to rectify this major inequality.

Sabrina Santos

Photo: Flickr

Here is a list of the top 10 celebrities from Africa. They all put their fame to good use to help people in need who are from their hometowns and throughout Africa.

1. Chinua Achebe —  Nigerian Novelist, Publisher and Educator

Achebe was born in Nigeria on November 16, 1930. He recently died at the age of 82 on March 21, 2013. He taught at different universities in America and is known for his book, “Things Fall Apart,” one of his earlier pieces of writings that was published in 1958. “Things Fall Apart” is what led him to be called the “patriarch of the African novel.” Many of his writing pieces go back to his Nigerian roots.

2. Youssou N’dour — Senegalese Musician

N’dour was born in 1959 in Dakar, Senegal. His most popular music came out in the late 1980s and 1990s. In 2004, the Rolling Stone Magazine wrote that he was “perhaps the most famous singer alive.” N’dour had the tendency to mix pop and rock with sabar, which is the traditional dance music of Senegal. N’dour has toured with stars like Sting, Bruce Springsteen, Tracy Chapman and Dido. He has been the subject of two award-winning films: “Retour à Gorée” and “Youssou N’Dour: I Bring What I Love.” He also owns a night club, a radio station and a television station. N’dour is a UNICEF ambassador to help bring an end to the humanitarian crisis in the horn of Africa.

3. Didier Drogba — Ivorian Soccer Player

Drogba is a world-pronounced soccer player, but he is most well-known for helping end war during the civil war in Cote D’Ivoire. Drogba fell to his knees on live television after his team qualified for the World Cup, pleading that Cote D’Ivoire give up the war, and it worked. In 2009 he donated $5 million to help with the construction of a hospital in his hometown of Abidjan.

4. Angelique Kidjo — Beninoise Musician

Kidjo is a Grammy award-winning musician. She has collaborated with Alicia Keys, Josh Groban and Carlos Santana. Kidjo owns her own nonprofit organization, Batonga Foundation, which is based in Washington. It promotes and funds education for African girls. She is also a UNICEF Goodwill ambassador.

5. Akon — Senegalese Musician

Akon has sold millions of his three studio-recorded albums. He co-owns a record label called Kon Live that helped get Lady Gaga and T-Pain’s career started. He also owns Konvict clothing, and he founded Konfidence Foundation, which promotes education and health causes in Senegal and elsewhere in Africa.

6. Wole Soyinka — Nigerian Playwright

In 1986, Soyinka became the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Soyinka has produced “The Lion and the Jewel,” “A Dance of the Forests,” “The Strong Breed” and 17 other plays.

7. Salif Keita — Malian Musician

Keita was denied by his family because he decided to pursue his career as a musician, which was considered beneath his noble family’s status. He was banished when he was 18 years old because of the superstition that albinos were bad luck. His latest album was decimated to stop discrimination against albinos in Africa and the rest of the world.

8. Yvonne Chaka Chaka — South African Musician

Chaka Chaka is known as the “Princess of Africa.” She was known for her girly pop music. She now devotes her time to her work as a United Nations Goodwill ambassador and representative of Africa.

9. Oumou Sangare — Malian Musician

Sangare often performed music known as Wassoulou. Wassoulou is often sung by women. This music consists of lyrics having to do with women’s rights issues and feminism. Sangare is a United Nations Goodwill ambassador and was named an official ambassador of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 2003.

10. Femi Kuti — Nigerian Musician

Kuti uses his music to downsize corruption, poverty and other socioeconomic issues prevalent in Nigeria and Africa through his lyrics. In his album, “Fight to Win” (which sold over 500,000 copies,) he collaborated with Common, Most Def and Jaguar Fight.

— Priscilla Rodarte
Sources: All Music, Biography, Forbes, NY Times
Photo: The Economist

agit8concert
Musicians from around the world performed in London this past Wednesday to support Agit8, a music-based campaign focused on raising awareness for extreme poverty. The group was launched by the One Campaign, a group co-founded by Bono and Bob Geldof. The idea was to get modern groups to record newer versions of famous protest songs.

The Agit8 concert hoped to put pressure on leaders attending the G8 summit in Northern Ireland next week. Musicians that participated included Angelique Kidjo, Paloma Faith, U2, Will. i. am, Elvis Costello, and Green Day among others. Artists appeared live and online to participate in the event.

One of the artists at the event remarked that Agit8 is a movement to push leaders to fulfill their promises and to be held accountable.  Ending poverty will grow economies around the world and result in a healthier and more educated global workforce.  The artists involved in the campaign want to motivate a new generation to fight against extreme poverty and hunger.

The One Campaign gathered the extraordinary group of musicians together to show the world that protest often leads to progress. History has shown that and British filmmaker Richard Curtis produced a film showing this that will also be shown in conjunction with the event.

– Amanda Kloeppel
Sources:The Irish SunNTD Television
Photo: Yahoo Finance