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Women hold up banners and shout slogans during a protest outside the European Parliament marking the International Women's Day in Brussels, March 8, 2019. Millions across the globe are marking International Women’s Day by demanding a gender-balanced world amid persistent salary gap, violence and widespread inequality.
Francisco Seco/AP
Girls & Women

Emma Watson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and 74 More Urge World Leaders to Protect Women


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Gender equality must be achieved to end extreme poverty by 2030. International Women’s Day serves as a reminder that it’s time to take action to protect half of the world’s population. You can take action on this issue here

This International Women’s Day, an impressive roster of 76 influential women banned together to push governments to stand up for women’s rights around the world.

Emma Watson, Keira Knightley, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are a few of the powerful actors, writers, business executives, and activists who signed a letter published in the Guardian on Friday to make their voices heard. Anti-period poverty advocate Amika George and singer Dua Lipa also added their names. 

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie-International-Womens-Day-1.jpgBestselling author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie at HCLS Miller Branch.
Image: Howard County Library System

The call for action, organized by the global organization Womankind Worldwide, which supports women’s rights in Asia and Africa, asks world leaders to protect and champion women everywhere.

Take Action: Demand Leaders Create a World Where She Is Equal

“On International Women's Day 2019, it’s an astonishing fact that in no country in the world do women enjoy the same rights or opportunities as men,” the letter reminds leaders. 

“Every day, women and girls face discrimination, poverty, and violence just because they are women,” the statement continues. 

Research shows poverty disproportionately affects women, and 1 out of every 3 women worldwide will be physically, sexually, or otherwise abused during her lifetime — with rates reaching 70% in some countries. 

Movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp helped bring the need for women’s rights into the mainstream conversation, but now is the moment to do the work to create change, the letter explains. 

The letter echoes UN Women’s commitment to promoting the need for diverse voices to be heard and respected on International Women’s Day 2019. 

Read More: Global Citizen Hero Emma Watson Could Be Hollywood’s Top-Paid Actress in 2017

“Groups that are under-represented and marginalized based on their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status also need to have the opportunity to create and to provide feedback on what is created by others,” UN Women wrote in a statement released Wednesday. 

The letter published Friday insists violence against women who speak out against injustice needs to end. Activists from Saudi Arabia to Tunisia continue to fight for gender equality despite the threats against their safety every day. Governments must trust women’s rights organizations and movements, especially those that represent marginalized communities, to lead the fight to strengthen human rights protections for women's rights activists, the letter says.

“Strong and diverse women’s movements have the skills, experience, vision, leadership, and passion to transform our world through local, national, regional, and international solidarity and collaboration, bringing women around the world into the process,” the letter concludes. 

Emma-Watson-France-Gender-Equality-G7-Social-Share.jpgActress Emma Watson, right, and other women arrive at the Elysee Palace for a meeting of gender equality ahead of the upcoming G7, Feb.19, 2019 in Paris.
Image: Francois Mori/AP