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Why Global Citizen Live in London Is a Big Deal for Gender Equality, Health, Nutrition, Education, and More

In his last speech in London’s Trafalgar Square, Nelson Mandela expressed his belief that we could be the generation to end extreme poverty. 

Now, in the year that marks the centennial of Mandela’s birth, world leaders from across the Commonwealth are gathering in London for the Commonwealth Summit — a.k.a. Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, a.k.a. CHOGM. 

To mark the occasion, Global Citizen is taking over the O2 Academy Brixton for a night of pop, policy, poetry, and comedy on April 17 — with Emeli Sandé, Professor Green, Naughty Boy, Gabrielle Aplin, and lots more. And we’re even giving you the chance to earn free tickets to this exclusive event (but more on that here).

Take action: Call on World Leaders to Take Action on Gender Inequality, Poverty, and Disease

The Commonwealth Summit is an opportunity like no other to step up and make our world better. Over 2.4 billion people live in the Commonwealth, and around 60% of them are under 30. It has so much potential to shape the future, and to be a leading voice in ending extreme poverty. 

We believe that together we can be the generation to achieve Mandela’s dream. But the hundreds of thousands of Global Citizens around the world who are calling for change are going to need the help of those Commonwealth leaders to do it. 

Our all-star lineup, along with all you global citizens, will be making some noise on four key issues that we believe absolutely have to be addressed at the Commonwealth Summit. 

Find out more here about how to take action on these pressing, urgent issues.

Take action: Sexist Laws Have No Place in 2018. Agree? Tell Governments to Act

Gender Equality

It’s been 100 years since some women first gained the right to vote in the UK — and yet, today, every single country in the Commonwealth has at least one law that limits women’s opportunities. 

Every horror you can imagine — from marital rape to child marriage — somewhere, right now, these sexist and discriminatory practices are completely legal, with perpetrators allowed to walk free. 

Let’s be clear: this is sexism. And sexism has no place in 2018. 

Sexist laws create barriers that keep girls and women poorer, with less control over their own futures, and leaves them more vulnerable to exploitation. 

Global Health

No one should suffer from diseases we know how to treat or prevent — yet they continue to cause devastating poverty and suffering worldwide. 

Take polio. Already, we’ve made incredible progress in eliminating polio. This horrific disease once affected 350,000 children every year — including in Europe and the US. 

Read more: Global Citizen Live Is Coming to London — and You Can Be There. Here's How

Now, the potentially deadly disease is 99% eradicated, with only 22 cases recorded in 2017. This is a remarkable achievement and, with the right political will, we could eradicate polio from the face of the earth forever. 

But now, we must finish the job, and continue the momentum to tackle other health issues — including malaria, poor vision, and neglected tropical diseases. 

Malaria medication costs less than £1 — but it will kill around 430,000 people this year alone, with 90% of people who live in Commonwealth countries at risk. What’s more, as it too often the case, women and children are the most affected.

Meanwhile, 2.5 billion people — that’s two-thirds of us — are suffering from poor vision without access to treatment. Poor vision is the world’s largest unaddressed disability, even though a simple pair of glasses would be a solution for most. It might not seem like a lot, but clear vision would give people the opportunity to lead independent lives, to work, to support their families, and to escape poverty. 

Finally, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). You might not even have heard of these, but NTDs continue to affect 1 billion of the world’s poorest and most marginalised people with devastating consequences. 

NTDs are diseases that we know how to treat or prevent, yet without adequate attention, they can cause severe disfigurement and disabilities, which limit a person's ability to succeed in life, and can perpetuate the cycle of poverty.

Education

Your school. Your freedom. And your future. 

Can you imagine losing all of this? For some of the world's most vulnerable girls, that's too often a reality. Girls who are forced into marriage, or fall pregnant early. Girls who are facing family crises, or who don't have much money at home. Girls who are fleeing war, or living as refugees.

Worldwide, more than 100 million young women living in developing countries can't read a single sentence. But this can't go on. 

Read more: Here's Who's Performing at Global Citizen Live in London (So Far..!)

The Commonwealth Summit in April is a key opportunity for leaders to step up and ensure that no child has to go without an education, without a future, ever again. 

Nutrition

Women and girls are more vulnerable to malnutrition than men — because of their reproductive biology, discrimination and exclusion in many parts of society, and because a higher proportion of women and girls are living in poverty.

Each year, 16 million adolescent girls become mothers. These adolescent girls have a higher nutritional need — to fuel their own growth, and the growth of their unborn child. 

Yet these girls are often missed by health services, or seen too late into their pregnancy to make a difference. If mothers are malnourished at the start of pregnancy this passes from mother to child, and the cycle of poverty and ill-health continues. 

Global Citizen is calling on world leaders to start focusing on adolescent girls and their nutrition. So that these girls can achieve their dreams, and when they choose to have children, they can give them the best start in life.

On April 17, Global Citizen Live will bring musicians, poets, comedians, and world leaders together at O2 Academy Brixton. Tickets are free and can be earned by taking action with Global Citizen calling on world leaders to end extreme poverty by 2030. Click here to take action on gender inequality, nutrition, disease, and education, and earn your place in the crowd.