"It shocks, disappoints and angers me that in a world where man has travelled to the moon and where we can connect to people almost anywhere on earth instantly online, men and women are still not equal.
The statistics are sobering. Across the globe, gender-based violence causes more deaths and disabilities among women of childbearing age than cancer, malaria, traffic accidents and war combined. And until recently, in our British parliament, there were more men called David than female MPs.
Working with some incredible organisations and inspiring women last year on International Women’s Day, I became convinced that collectively we could make a loud noise. And so the EQUALS coalition was formed: a group of 30 leading charities and arts organisations. Together, we aim to re-open the debate about equality and make this year’s centenary celebrations a catalyst for positive change.
Despite the fact that half of the world’s population is female, women’s rights have become marginalised as a ‘minority issue’. Sullied by stereotypes of angry man-haters, the concept of feminism and its principles of equality and anti-sexism need to be refreshed and reclaimed. Feminism shouldn’t be an F word. We should embrace it.
From Malawi to Manchester, women are being short-changed on life chances. From India to Illinois, women face violence just for being female. The impact of inequality is felt by every woman worldwide – your friends, your family, your colleagues, your neighbours, the people you emailed today, the woman in the car next to you, the faces you saw on television and the voices you heard on the radio. How many have been abused or faced discrimination today? Whether you’re a woman or a man, this affects you. And you are part of the solution.
The one hundredth anniversary of International Women’s Day is a moment in time. Let’s make it a moment that counts. Let’s make it a moment that lasts."
Annie Lennox
Find out more www.weareequals.org