The US singers were joined by actresses Meryl Streep, Charlize Theron, Rosamund Pike and Rita Wilson in signing the letter, issued on International Women’s Day.
The petition was organised by the London-based non-governmental organisation ONE, founded by U2 singer Bono.
It is addressed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who hosts this year’s G7 summit in June, and South Africa’s Minister of Health Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the AU Commission chair. They are both convening a women’s summit this year.
“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 says.
“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.”
ONE published a report which said women had not benefited as much as men from the progress made since 2000 in the fight against extreme poverty.
It said women still represented two thirds of the world’s illiterate population. (AFP)