Glamour has been naming Women of the Year for 27 years now, but they decided to shake the tradition up a bit by entering a man into their annual lineup. As Christiane Amanpour explains in an article for Glamour, Bono received the magazine’s first-ever ‘Man of the Year’ because of his work for gender equality and his dedication to recruiting other men to fight for women’s rights.
“I think Bono is the perfect choice for this first-time honor because, now 56, he’s been trying to do good for as long as he’s been making music,” Amanpour wrote in Glamour yesterday, announcing the award. “It’s not every superstar (or, for that matter, statesman) who can bring about $100 billion in debt cancellation for 35 of the world’s poorest countries, or persuade the U.S. government to pony up the largest contribution ever for lifesaving AIDS drugs in Africa, as President George W. Bush did in 2004.”
Amanpour also touched upon Bono’s new campaign, Poverty is Sexist, which aims to help impoverished women across the globe. Earlier this year, Melinda Gates wrote about the effort in Motto, praising Bono as “one of the most outspoken advocates for women and girls.” Amanpour agreed with this sentiment: “By establishing Poverty Is Sexist, Bono is making it clear that powerful men can, and should, take on these deep-rooted issues,” she said.
And it’s that message — that sometimes powerful men need to be pushed to start tackling sexism — that Glamour wished to project with this monumental new title. “For years our Women of the Year Advisory Board — made up of past winners, plus our editors — has put the kibosh on naming a Man of the Year on the grounds that men aren’t exactly hurting for awards in this world, and that here at Glamour, the tribe we’re into celebrating is female,” the editors wrote. “But these days most women want men — no, need men — in our tribe.”
“Men can be a bit thick,” Bono told Amanpour when she asked him why other men aren’t always on the frontline of these battles. “And I include myself. Honestly, things that ought to be obvious sometimes are not… We can do much more than we think we can. Leaders are accountable to all of us. If they don’t support women and girls, vote them out of office. To quote Nelson Mandela, ‘It always seems impossible — until it’s done.’”
Read the full profile on Bono at Glamour.com.