Annie Lennox pushes for global feminism on International Women’s Day

‘Feminism — we must use this word because it means empowerment,’ says Lennox

Annie Lennox has a sweet dream — that the world will embrace the term global feminism and continue to push for the advancement of women’s rights around the globe.

The iconic singer and activist teamed with Apple Music to launch a video Thursday in support of global feminism to coincide with International Women’s Day, which is Friday.

The nearly two-minute clip features Lennox, Oscar-nominated actor Richard E. Grant and Grammy-winning singers Ed Sheeran, Mary J. Blige and Dua Lipa telling the story of women’s rights in the last 100 years.

“My interest is this term ‘global feminism,’” Lennox said. “It means that everybody can be a part of it. It isn’t saying, ‘I’m a feminist, it’s different than your feminism.’ No. It’s all part of a very mixed, diverse dialogue that will bring many people (together).”

“Feminism — we must use this word because it means empowerment. People can be (and) must be empowered,” she said.

The Scottish singer said though there’s been major progress for women’s rights, much more needs to be done.

“In western countries, we’re far more resourced than people are generally speaking in the so-called developing world,” she said. “It isn’t right that young girls cannot attend primary school or cannot attend secondary school. If they are living in poverty, they can’t therefore have the skills that they need. They can’t become literate, they can’t read or write, and therefore they can’t have a chance to get out of this poverty.”

Lennox is also encouraging more men to become global feminists: “We can be generous and inclusive, and we can use this term like an umbrella term, where people stand collectively, shoulder-to-shoulder, and they identify these facts and say, ‘This is not right. Men, women can say, ‘This is not right.’”

“Also, we must change this thing about violence where 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. If we don’t have dialogue with boys and men, we cannot change attitudes and behaviours, so we must bring boys and men into the arena, into the platform for discussion,” she added.

Lennox, 64, said Sheeran was the first to jump on board for the video, which also features cameos by Hozier, Emeli Sande, Paloma Faith, Yola, Ade Adepitan, Richa Chadha and more. For International Women’s Day, Apple Music is also launching playlists curated by some of the top female acts in music, including Cardi B, Pink, Halsey, Camila Cabello and more.

Lennox is a Grammy and Oscar winner who has had major success as a member of the duo Eurythmics as well as a solo act, with hits including “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” ”Walking on Broken Glass,” ”No More I Love You’s” and “Here Comes the Rain Again.”

Lennox has pushed for equal rights throughout her career, and in 2008 she launched The Circle, an organization that focuses on gaining equality for women.

“I really like grassroots movements because I feel the change could come from within. Women like myself, I’m white. My skin colour is white. My social standing is — I come from privilege. I don’t come from a privileged background, but now my life is extremely privileged. With that privilege, I have a voice and a platform. I have ability to move. I can contribute in many ways to raising awareness globally about these situations and circumstances,” she said.

Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press

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