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Gender equality myth

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Joining fellow celebrities like Eva Longoria and LeBron James, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter has contributed her thoughts to The Shriver Report, a study which aims to examine and improve the financial insecurity of American women and the children who depend on them.

Released on January 12, the report, co-authored by Schwarzenegger’s former wife, journalist Maria Shriver, is titled A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink and showcases the work of a number of public figures, journalists, lawyers and social analysts.

Beyoncé’s contribution -“Gender equality is a myth!” – calls for an increase in women’s wages and insists that society “stop buying into the myth of gender equality.”

Meanwhile, Desperate Housewives actress Longoria was more specific in her musings, contributing an essay titled Empowering Latinas. Longoria, who is of Mexican background, chose to focus on the high school drop-out and unemployment rates of Latinas, placing emphasis on the importance of education in improving their odds.

“Education is the single most powerful tool to help people pull themselves out of poverty and change their life trajectory,” Longoria writes. “I founded the Eva Longoria Foundation to help more Latinas do just that.”

Perhaps a more surprising contributor is hugely successful basketball player LeBron James, whose essay America’s Working Single Mothers: An Appreciation discusses his own experiences growing up with a single mother. The heartfelt essay details James’ mother’s struggle, forced to hand over custody temporarily to a family friend in order to get her finances in order.

“People always say I am devoted to my mother. That’s true, but only because for every minute of my life, she has been devoted to me,” James writes.

Excerpts from the report are available online and you can read Beyoncé’s essay below:

“We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet. Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect. 

Humanity requires both men and women, and we are equally important and need one another. So why are we viewed as less than equal? These old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible. We have a lot of work to do, but we can get there if we work together. Women are more than 50 per cent of the population and more than 50 per cent of voters. We must demand that we all receive 100 per cent of the opportunities.”

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