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Beyonce, Lady Gaga call on Merkel to tackle female poverty

Beyonce and Lady Gaga were among 36 prominent women to call on Chancellor Angela Merkel to address female poverty. The move, made on International Women's Day, follows a study into disadvantaged women.

The petition, posted on Sunday on the website of poverty fighting organization ONE, addressed both Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will host this year's G7 summit in June, and South Africa's Minister of Health and African Union chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

Other big names among the signatories included Hollywood actresses Meryl Streep and Rosamund Pike, as well as Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg.

'Poverty is sexist'

"If your summits reach the right agreements, great financing and momentum around girls and women's empowerment can be placed at the heart of the new global goals," the petition said.

"Poverty is sexist, and we won't end it unless we face up to the fact that girls and women get a raw deal, and until leaders and citizens around the world work together for real change.

"If we get this right, we could help lift every girl and woman out of poverty by 2030 - and by doing so we will lift everyone. Get this wrong and extreme poverty, inequality and instability might spread in the most vulnerable regions, impacting all our futures."

'Twice as disadvantaged'

The publication of the letter on International Women's Day came after results of study, also led by ONE, showed that women in poor countries are twice as disadvantaged as men due to the lack of access to education, health care systems and agricultural equipment.

The report found that if women in agriculture were provided with the same productive resources as men, the number of chronically starving people worldwide would fall by as much as 100 million to 150 million. The study also showed that women still represent as much as two thirds of the world's illiterate population.

ksb/sms (KNA, AFP, dpa)

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