Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, Selena Gomez & Chrissy Teigen Highlight COVID-19’s Toll on Women
The women reminded the world to protect the group most vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic.
The three women stressed the need to protect women during Global Citizen’s VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World, which premiered globally on Saturday.
The event brought together artists, entertainers, and world leaders in response to the actions taken by Global Citizens to encourage countries to donate COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries.
As VAX Live campaign co-chair, Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, delivered a moving speech in a video message, calling for solidarity and a gender-responsive COVID-19 recovery.
“My husband and I believe it’s critical that our recovery prioritizes the health, safety, and success of everyone, and particularly women who have been disproportionately affected by this pandemic,” she said.
Gender-based violence is on the rise, unpaid care work is increasing and wiping out progress for women in the workplace, and women of color are suffering the largest economic losses, she explained. Nearly 5.5 million women have lost work in the US since the beginning of the pandemic and 47 million women around the world are expected to slip into extreme poverty, she added.
“If we work together to bring vaccines to every country and continent, insist that vaccines are equitably distributed and fairly priced, and ensure that governments around the world are donating their additional vaccines to countries in need, then we can begun to fully rebuild — not only to restore us where we were before, but to go further, and rapidly advance the conditions, opportunities, and mobility for women everywhere,” The Duchess of Sussex said.
She went on to reflect on expecting a girl with Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex.
“When we think of her, we think of all the young women and girls around the globe who must be given the ability and support to lead us forward,” she said. “Their future leadership depends on the decisions we make and the actions we take now to set them up and set all of us up for success, equitable, and compassionate tomorrow.”
Meghan recently penned a powerful open letter with Prince Harry to CEOs of the top COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, calling on them to share doses with the world's poorest countries. The couple also announced a drive for individual donations to the World Health Organization’s COVAX initiative that will donate a vaccine to one of the world’s poorest countries for every $5 received.
Following the Duchess of Sussex’s address, Gomez, who hosted VAX LIVE, further emphasized the need to protect women during the pandemic. She shared that she recently learned women make up three-quarters of the nearly 27 million people in the health care workforce in the developing world.
“They’re our mothers, caregivers, daughters, and sisters,” she said. “They have stepped up in this moment in history and every other moment to see us through. So if you haven’t already, get vaccinated, then give that woman in your life a hug when you see her next. She's earned it.”
In April, Gomez called on countries to donate extra COVID-19 vaccine doses and urged vaccine manufacturers to provide COVID-19 vaccines at not-for-profit prices. She has been a dedicated advocate to end the COVID-19 pandemic, dating back to March 2020 when she participated in the World Health Organization’s viral handwashing challenge.
Gomez then introduced her friend, author and entrepreneur Teigen, who highlighted that the first health care worker to receive a vaccine in the US was a Jamaican woman, Sandra Lindsay in New York, and a Black woman, Dr. Michelle Chester, administered the shot.
“The symbolism wasn’t lost on a single woman of color,” Teigen said.
“We have seen the most: the most death, illness, and hardship. And we will lead us out of this mess because this is more than a stadium full of people. It’s a house of hope. This is what women do.
“We build villages everywhere,” she continued. “Because we’ve got parents to hug, kids to love, friends to see, and big problems to solve. So let’s get this vaccine everywhere.”
Teigen previously joined Global Citizen with her husband, John Legend, in his performance during the One World: Together At Home broadcast in April 2020 to celebrate health care workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
VAX LIVE featured performances by Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, J Balvin, and H.E.R. Special appearances also included President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, Vice President Kamala Harris, Ben Affleck, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel, Nomzamo Mbatha, Olivia Munn, Sean Penn, and more.
VAX LIVE helped mobilize $302 million to fight COVID-19 and secured more than 26 million COVID-19 doses through government, corporate, and philanthropic commitments.
As part of Global Citizen’s Recovery Plan for the World campaign, VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World brought together artists, entertainers, world leaders, and more to ensure equitable vaccine distribution around the world, tackle COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, and celebrate a hopeful future.
You can still catch the concert on the Global Citizen YouTube channel and on various channels and platforms. Be sure to join us in taking action to end the pandemic and ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to COVID-19 vaccines. Then, head to our multimedia hub VAX BECAUSE to join candid conversations about the pandemic and find answers to your biggest questions about the vaccines.
Want to take home part of the show? Check out our VAX LIVE merch at the Global Citizen official store.