Annie joins the London #March4Women Read her speech here

Annie’s speech from the #march4women can now be read below.

Check back soon for more media coverage from the day including interviews with BBC and Channel 4

“FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS WOMEN AND MEN HAVE BEEN MEETING HERE AT CITY HALL AND THE SOUTH BANK, TO WALK TOGETHER IN SOLIDARITY WITH WOMEN FROM EVERY CORNER OF THE GLOBE, AS PART OF A RANGE OF EVENTS TO HIGHLIGHT AND CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY.

BUT THERE’S FAR MORE TO WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE TODAY THAN HAVING A LOVELY TIME OUT WITH LIKE MINDED FRIENDS.

WE’RE HERE AS PART OF A COLLECTIVE VOICE, TO AMPLIFY THE MESSAGE THAT GLOBAL INJUSTICE AND ABUSE HAS BEEN ENDURED BY GIRLS AND WOMEN FOR CENTURIES TOO LONG….THE WORLD URGENTLY NEEDS TO WAKE UP AND FULLY UNDERSTAND WHAT WE ARE ACTUALLY TALKING ABOUT.

AT A TIME WHEN THE UNITED NATIONS DESCRIBES THE EVOLUTION TOWARDS GENDER EQUALITY AS BEING “GLACIALLY SLOW”
I DON’T EVEN NEED TO MENTION ‘LOCKER ROOM’ TALK.

……SURELY THIS HAS TO CHANGE.
ONCE YOU’VE REALISED THE FACTS ABOUT GIRLS AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS, YOU HAVE TO TAKE ACTION!
TALKING IS EASY – BUT ACTION TAKES LONGTERM COMMITMENT AND EFFORT – AND THIS IS WHY WE ARE HERE TODAY – SHOWING UP AND WALKING OUR TALK.
THE WORD ‘FEMINISM’ CAN MEAN DIFFERENT THINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE.
BUT LET’S HAVE NO CONFUSION ABOUT WHAT FEMINISM REALLY MEANS..
SIMPLY PUT, FEMINISM STANDS FOR FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS.. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY.. JUSTICE, RESPECT AND PROTECTION….
BY TAKING THE TIME TO JOIN THE WALK TODAY, EVERYONE OF US BECOMES AN AGENT FOR CHANGE –
WE ARE ALL ACTIVISTS AND ADVOCATES, LENDING OUR TIME AND OUR VOICES TO GIVE FOCUS TO POLITICAL AND SOCIAL JUSTICE.
I AM SO PROUD TO STAND SHOULDER TO SHOULDER WITH EVERYONE HERE – MOST ESPECIALLY WITH MEMBERS AND REPRESENTATIVES FROM SOME OF THE MOST OUTSTANDING ORGANISATIONS, WHO HAVE ALL JOINED TOGETHER IN PARTNERSHIP FOR THIS EVENT.

‘CARE INTERNATIONAL’ – WHO’VE BEEN WORKING IN 79 DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, SAVING LIVES IN EMERGENCIES AND FINDING LONG TERM SOLUTIONS TO POVERTY FOR MILLIONS OF WOMEN AND GIRLS.

‘THE WHITE RIBBON ALLIANCE’ – A LIFE SAVING ORGANISATION IN THE FIELD OF MATERNAL MORTALITY, WORKING TO UPHOLD THE RIGHT OF ALL WOMEN TO BE SAFE AND HEALTHY, BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER CHILDBIRTH.

‘WOMEN FOR REFUGEE WOMEN’ – WHO WORK AT A GRASSROOTS LEVEL, SUPPORTING AND EMPOWERING WOMEN WHO ARE SEEKING ASYLUM, CHALLENGING THE INJUSTICES EXPERIENCED BY WOMEN WHO CROSS BORDERS TO SEEK SAFETY.

THE FAWCETT SOCIETY – THE UK’S LEADING CHARITY CAMPAIGNING FOR GENDER EQUALITY AND WOMEN’S RIGHTS, ESTABLISHED OVER A HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS AGO, AND STILL WORKING TO SEE A SOCIETY IN WHICH INDIVIDUALS CAN FULFIL THEIR POTENTIAL, REGARDLESS OF THEIR SEX.

AND THE CIRCLE, THE ORGANISATION WE FOUNDED A FEW YEARS AGO, TO CONNECT AND INSPIRE WOMEN TO USE THEIR RESOURCES AND SKILLS IN SUPPORT OF SOME OF THE MOST DISEMPOWERED GIRLS AND WOMEN IN THE WORLD, AS THEY CHALLENGE THE INJUSTICE OF INEQUALITY.

EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US WORKS TIRELESSLY TO MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE AND I APPLAUD YOU ALL FOR IT….

I ALSO WANT TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND THANK SADIQ KHAN, OUR MAYOR OF LONDON, WHO IS A TRUE ALLY AND SUPPORTER OF THE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT, A SELF DESCRIBED FEMINIST, WHO SETS A WONDERFUL EXAMPLE AS A LEADER IN SOCIETY.
SADIQ HAS EXPRESSED THAT AS THE FATHER OF TWO TEENAGE DAUGHTERS, HE HAS A SPECIAL INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE VALUES AND ATTITUDES TOWARDS YOUNG GIRLS.
WE APPRECIATE AND ACKNOWLEDGE YOU FOR SHOWING YOUR ALLEGIANCE, BY BEING HERE WITH US AGAIN TODAY SADIQ.

BEFORE WE SET OFF, I’D LIKE TO SHARE JUST A FEW OF THE FACTS THAT MANY OF US ALREADY KNOW, BUT THEY ARE TRULY WORTH REFLECTING ON.
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO CONSIDER…
THAT GLOBALLY, ONE IN THREE WOMEN WILL BE BEATEN, AND COERCED INTO SEX OR OTHERWISE ABUSED IN THEIR LIFETIME.

THAT EVERY 30 SECONDS, 13 GIRLS UNDER THE AGE OF 18 ARE ENTERED INTO CHILD MARRIAGE.. THIS IS A GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION THAT KEEPS GIRLS OUT OF SCHOOL, ENDANGERING THEIR HEALTH, AND SENTENCING THEM TO A LIFETIME OF POVERTY.

THAT AROUND THE WORLD, 17 MILLION GIRLS WILL NEVER HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ENROL IN PRIMARY SCHOOL.

THAT GLOBALLY, WOMEN ARE STILL PAID LESS THAN MEN – EARNING ON AVERAGE ONLY 60 TO 75 PER CENT OF MEN’S WAGES.

AND OUT OF AN ESTIMATED 3.8 MILLION YOUNG PEOPLE AGED 15-24 LIVING WITH HIV, 60% ARE FEMALE – HIV IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH AMONG WOMEN OF REPRODUCTIVE AGE IN THE CONTINENT OF AFRICA –

I’M JUST QUOTING A MERE HANDFUL OF FACTS.. THE LIST OF CRUELTY AND INJUSTICE IS MUCH LONGER..THE ISSUES ARE ENDLESS AND PAINFULLY OVERWHELMING…

PEOPLE OFTEN SAY ‘ WHAT CAN I DO ’? – ‘ I’M JUST ONE PERSON’
SO TODAY WE ARE ALL TAKING ACTION, INDIVIDUALLY AND COLLECTIVELY USING OUR VOICES AS A CALL FOR CHANGE…
THE GLOBAL WOMEN’S MOVEMENT IS ON IT’S FEET AND WALKING AGAIN… THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US!”

Annie Lennox