Glamour’s annual Women of the Year list always takes in a lot of territory, from noteworthy fashionistas and sports heroes to social justice activists and business leaders.
Enter Bono: The first Man of the Year among the magazine’s Women of the Year, all to be honored at a Nov. 14 ceremony in Los Angeles.
“We’ve talked for years about whether to honor a man at Women of the Year and we’ve always kind of put the kabash on it. You know, men get a lot of awards and aren’t exactly hurting in the celebration and honors department,” said Cindi Leive, Glamour’s editor-in-chief.
“But it started to seem that that might be an outdated way of looking at things, and there are so many men who really are doing wonderful things for women these days. Some men get it and Bono is one of those guys,” Leive said in a recent interview.
And how’s that?
Well, not just by talking the talk and wearing a feminist T-shirt, she said. Not that there’s anything wrong with that stuff, of course.
Instead, the U2 frontman has turned his attention, his high-volume voice and presence as an activist, squarely on women and girls who need it the most, those in extreme poverty around the world. Last year, Bono and his One campaign launched a “Poverty is Sexist” movement, armed with facts and figures.
Roughly 62 million girls are denied a right to education around the world, according to a One report, and half a billion women can’t read.
In a letter to world leaders, Bono and numerous other celebrity signers, from Robert Redford to Shonda Rhimes, called it an outrage that girls account for 74 percent of all new HIV infections among adolescents in Africa.
“The idea that a man who could select any cause in the world to call his own, or no cause at all, is choosing to work, and not just for one night or at a special event, but consistently — day after day and month after month — on behalf of women is incredibly cool and absolutely deserves applause,” Leive said, noting Bono’s AIDS-fighting Red campaign as well.
So how did the man of the hour take the news? Bono’s wife, Ali Hewson, had some thoughts, Leive said.
“Apparently he turned to his wife and broke the news and she told him, eh, I think you still have some work to do,” she laughed.
Bono said in a statement Tuesday from Glamour that the battle for gender equality won’t be won unless men step up and lead alongside women.
“We’re largely responsible for the problem, so we have to be involved in the solutions,” he said.
Among Glamour’s other 2016 honorees are fashion designer Miuccia Prada, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, ISIS kidnap survivor Nadia Murad, Black Lives Matter activists Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, and model and body activist Ashley Graham.