During a ceremony in NYC earlier today Annie Lennox received the Fashion4Development Award, presented to her by Livia Firth

You can read Annie’s full acceptance speech below

“Thank you so much for this award. I’m truly honoured to receive it.


Ever since my first direct encounter with the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa over 13 years ago, I have been deeply affected by the cruel injustices I witnessed wherever I went.

This is what lies at the core of my work and drive, as an advocate and activist.

Back then, it was evident to me that in many countries in the world, girls and women were consistently disempowered in every aspect of their lives, as they still are today.


Whether it is by prevention of access to decent primary and secondary education, resulting in lack of work and life opportunities – lack of legal rights and protection –  or the lack of  health care, especially with regard to sexual and reproductive health and rights.. etc etc..the list of ‘lack’ is endless.

Everyone in this room knows the extreme challenges faced by hundreds of millions of girls and women around the globe today.


To put things into perspective:

From almost a billion adults who cannot read or write  – 2 out of 3 are women.

Almost 40,000 girls under the age of 18 become child brides every single day.

:   While gender based violence is known to be a cause and consequence of HIV – 120 million girls worldwide have experienced rape or other other forced sexual acts at some point in  their lives..

These 3 facts alone are absolutely staggering..

They leave us all feeling breathless.

However…The GOOD news is…

Awareness is finally rising and action IS taking place..


Only a few months ago in Copenhagen, at the extraordinary Women Deliver Conference, attended by almost 6,000 champions of girls and women from 189 countries, I realised that we have a new generation of activists ( including young men) who are already creating the change we long to see.


This is why I am passionate about collaborative partnerships…and why I’m so proud of the actions of members of the organisation I founded along with Livia Firth, called The Circle, who are all playing their part towards transformative action and change.

Thank you so much to Fashion 4 Development for everything you are doing to raise the bar in the Global Women’s movement, and for the recognition you have given me today.”