Trudeau wrote a letter to anti-poverty organization ONE on Thursday stating, “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."
“Women and girls are less likely to get an education, more likely to be impoverished, and face greater risk of disease and poor health,” Trudeau wrote. “I accept your challenge to lead. As a feminist, I know that women must be treated equally everywhere.”
Women and girls worldwide are victims of inequalities that leave them at risk for poverty. Women are often denied access to basic education and health care, according to U.N. Women. In Asia and South America, for instance, women are more likely to go hungry than men, because they often have unequal access to resources, education and income, according to the World Food Programme.
Poverty can both be a driving force and a result of gender inequality. For example, women in developing countries might be forced into child marriage because their family can’t afford another mouth to feed. And more women than men in developing countries are forced to gather clean water, meaning they spend less time going to school.
“We need other leaders around the world to step up, too.”
Trudeau issued his note in response to a letter from ONE on International Women’s Day, March 8, urging world leaders to fight for gender equality in order to tackle extreme poverty. Celebrities from Melinda Gates to Aziz Ansari signed the letter.
“Nowhere on earth do women have as many opportunities as men. Nowhere,” the letter from ONE read. “Girls and women living in extreme poverty – those often hit hardest by the injustice of gender inequality – have been left out.”
In his letter, Trudeau reminded everyone of the importance of his Cabinet being gender-balanced, before proceeding to commit 785 million Canadian dollars to the global fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
The prime minister urged his fellow world leaders to get on board.
“No one leader can make this happen alone,” Trudeau wrote. “We need other leaders around the world to step up, too.”