Global Citizen Festival’s 10th Anniversary: 10 Artists & Activists Who Fought for Gender Equality
Since the festival’s beginning in Central Park, New York City, ten years ago, the fight for gender equality has brought artists and activists together on stage at the Global Citizen Festival.
From New York to Hamburg to Johannesburg and beyond, musicians, activists, and others have raised their voices in favor of women and girls on festival stages since 2012 in an effort to eradicate extreme poverty and build a more sustainable society for all.
Others urged Global Citizens to take action and put pressure on world leaders to step up their commitments to combat major issues like child marriage and honor killings. Some individuals led their own projects to end sexism and discrimination. Artists and activists have urged their fan bases to join the struggle to promote sustainable development without leaving women and girls behind, regardless of whether their day jobs involved political action or touring hit albums.
The 2022 Global Citizen Festival campaign will continue to advance an ambitious agenda that emphasizes adolescent females, and it will do so through twin events held in New York and Accra on Saturday, Sept. 24. We’re urging international leaders to agree to help girls get an education, easing the stress on health systems brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuring that everyone has access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care.
Join us as we take a look back at some of the highlights from our live events and online forums on the topic over the past ten years as we get ready for this year’s Global Citizen Festival, where we’ll see how the globe responds to the need to empower women and girls.
At the 2015 Global Citizen Festival, Beyoncé presented Michelle Obama, who was then the first lady of the United States. The two hugged before Obama made a call for the support of girls’ education and unveiled the #62MillionGirls initiative.
The 62 million girls who miss school each year were the focus of the campaign, which also attempted to put pressure on decision-makers to support girls’ equitable access to education.
These girls are ours, Obama remarked. “Make no mistake, providing them that chance is at the heart of our work to end global poverty. They deserve the same opportunities to acquire an education as my daughters, your daughters, and all of our children. The only way to guarantee that these girls may reach their full potential, support their families, and fully contribute to their nations.
At the 2015 Global Citizen Festival, Malala Yousafzai, the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, joined four other education activists from around the world to emphasize the value of girls’ education.
No world leader would want their children to be deprived of an education, so why to disregard the rest of the world’s children, she asked. “Up to 66 million girls are deprived of school, and that forces me, that forces all five of us to ask here today.”
Will you support the 66 million females who are currently denied an education?
Jada Pinkett Smith and 4. Salma Hayek:
Gucci President and CEO Marco Bizzarri provided updates on the fashion house’s Chime for Change global program to combat prejudice against women and girls at the 2016 Global Citizen Festival. He was joined on stage by Salma Hayek and Jada Pinkett Smith to emphasize the need of continuing to advance gender equality.
Many women around the world do not even have the freedom to own a home or visit a doctor without their husband’s or fathers’ consent. This prejudice must end, Smith declared.
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Hayek, a co-founder of Chime for Change, highlighted the truth about so-called honor killings.
That’s correct, she answered, “women are killed by their own family members in various nations for marrying the man they love.” “It is shocking that in this day and age, the law frequently allows families to get away with such murders because the law has exceptions for these so-called honor killings or because legal procedures allow murderers to be pardoned,” the statement reads. “For refusing to enter into an arranged marriage or for having a relationship with a man not approved by their family.”
The actress launched a short film about Pakistani social media star Qandeel Baloch, who was murdered in an honor killing. Hayek then introduced the movie’s director, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who urged everyone to speak out against violence against women.
In contrast to the world we inherited, “the world that we want to leave our ladies and our daughters must be safer,” stated Obaid-Chinoy.
According to Obaid-Chinoy, “the world that we want to leave our ladies and our daughters must be far safer than the society that we inherited.”
On stage at the 2018 Global Citizen Festival, actress Dakota Johnson shared her cell phone number with the audience. She requested that women and girls phone her and leave voicemails with her about experiences with sexual assault and harassment. At the 2019 Global Citizen Festival, Johnson provided an update to the gathering.
Johnson claimed that she received phone calls from 70 different nations and six continents, amounting to almost 60 hours of true stories.
These tales come from all generations and genders, with 95% of the women, she claimed. The oldest person who called in was 71, while the youngest was 11. These stories were told to me. I also vowed to make sure they were heard.
Johnson produced the podcast The Left Ear using audio messages. She stated that her goals were to “establish a safe and compassionate dialogue about sexual violence and to draw awareness to the reality that over 35% of women worldwide experience gender-based violence at this moment.”
Gloria Steinem, an activist, author, and feminist organizer, discussed the status of women around the globe during the panel discussion “Women of Influence: The Power of Gender in Shaping Culture” at the first Global Citizen NOW summit in May 2022.
With guests such as philanthropist Pharrell Williams and Grammy Award-winning composer and vocalist Arooj Aftab, Steinem discussed the overturning of Roe v. Wade and abortion rights in the US.
I want women and men and everyone to be able to do whatever they fucking well choose, Gloria Steinem replied in response to the question of what she would like to see for the future of women and girls.
In 2021, as part of Global Citizen Live, poet Rakaya Fetuga read her poem “When a Uterus Is a Burning Flag.”
The revolution won’t be broadcast on television when it “sits and flourishes inside and it can be ignored by a male gaze and outside eyes,” she said.
Later in the poem, Fetuga discussed the importance of lowering maternal mortality, how family planning can expand a woman’s world, and what is lost when women’s health needs are disregarded