Poverty is Sexist – here’s what we can do about it

Poverty is Sexist – here’s what we can do about it


Join the fight against extreme poverty

A map of the big moments we need to influence – click on the markers to explore.

Our Poverty is Sexist campaign makes it clear that girls and women are hit hardest by poverty, and millions are being denied the chance to reach their full potential.

The answer? Well, it’s complicated.  And massive.  But completely do-able.

A big part is cultural: we need societies that value girls and women equally to boys and men, in every part of life.  But we also need a global shift that puts girls and women at the heart of development. This is where we – and you – come in.

This year, world leaders have an unusual amount of gathering to do. There are summits and conferences every few weeks – and that means lots of huge decisions will be made. While all you might see are those awkward group photos, behind the scenes we’ll be pushing hard for agreements that could change the lives of millions of girls and women. Get the finer details in our Poverty is Sexist report.

These are the changes we’re calling for:

G7 Summit: 7-8 June, Schloss Elmau, Germany

World leaders at the G8 Summit in Muskoka, Canada, 2010. Photo: White House Photo by Pete Souza.

World leaders at the G8 Summit in Muskoka, Canada, 2010. Photo: White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Chancellor Angela Merkel will host this annual get-together of the seven most powerful countries in the world. We want to see the words ‘women’ and ‘big plans to end poverty’ all over that agenda.

  • On agriculture: Make things fairer for women farmers. Better land rights, training, and access to credit, technology, inputs like fertiliser and labour. Plus full support for developing countries’ own agriculture plans, and keeping the promises they made at the 2013 Nutrition for Growth summit.  It’s been two years now, get it done.
  • On health: Make sure women are getting equal standards of health care, everywhere. A bit more aid, of better quality and training for health-workers would help fix this.
  • On finance: Keeping an international promise to spend 0.7% of national income on aid, but crucially making sure at least half of that goes to the very poorest countries. Right now only around 30% of global aid does.
  • On the new global goals: Use their influence to make sure that when these development goals are announced in September, they’re brilliant, backed up with enough money, and have girls and women at the heart.

African Union Summit: July, Johannesburg, South Africa

Leaders at the African Union Summit, Ethiopia, 2013

Photo: Leaders at the African Union Summit, Ethiopia, 2013. Credit: GCIS

Next up is Africa’s turn to shine. Leaders from across the continent will make decisions that could help millions more out of poverty, or make it even harder to survive.

  • On agriculture: Sort out the legal and cultural barriers that are holding women farmers back. That means land rights, access to training, credit and inputs. They made some great promises during last year’s AU Year of Agriculture, so let’s see them happen.
  • On health: Show us the money from those promises made in Abuja. More health workers on better salaries are important for getting better healthcare for women.
  • On finance: As this trickles down to local budgets, make sure girls and women will benefit. And improve the legal systems for girls and women too.
  • On transparency: Tackle corruption in the oil, gas and minerals industry. A big step forward would be for payments between extractive companies and governments to be made public, so we can all see where that cash ends up.
  • On the new global goals: Just like the G7, African leaders get a say in these too. So we want to see hands in the air for girls and women here as well.

Financing for Development Conference: 13-16 July, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


You’ve probably never heard of this shindig, but it’s a biggie. World leaders bring their wallets and decide how much to chip in to poverty fighting for the next few years. This pot will fund the new global goals, so we need it to be full.

  • On finance: Donor countries need to bring enough of it, but more than half of what they bring should be going to the very poorest. Developing countries need to generate more of their own resources to fight poverty at home.  Everyone should agree to fight corruption.
  • On budgets and trade: Policies that influence how public money is allocated, spent and evaluated should work harder for girls and women.  The same goes for trade policies.
  • On data: Too many girls and women are literally not being counted. Developing countries should invest in getting data from the hardest-to-reach places, to help plan services and track progress.

Announcement of new global goals: 25 – 27 September, New York, USA

15 year olds from across Tanzania launch the action/2015 campaign in January. Photo: ONE

15 year olds from across Tanzania launch the action/2015 campaign in January. Photo: ONE

This is it. A new set of global goals on poverty, inequality and climate will be officially announced by world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly. They will be our road map to 2030 and a better world for us all. They simply HAVE to allow girls and women to reach their potential, wherever they live.

On girls and women: as 50% of the population, every goal needs to benefit girls and women as much as boys and men. We also want to see special attention to things like violence against women, child marriage and human trafficking.

The also need to be:
Focused: so we all understand what they’re about and how we can measure them.
Financed: it’s that money again – and most of it going to the poorest.
Followed: with better reporting, including by gender, so we can check they’re working for everyone.

Take action

That’s a lot of change in just one year! We’ll be working tirelessly to make this happen, but we can’t do it without your help. It’s your voice and your pressure that makes our leaders sit up and listen. So we’ll be asking for your help at crucial moments throughout 2015.

Start now: tell Chancellor Merkel to deliver real action for girls and women everywhere when she hosts the G7 Summit.

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