The Circle, a global NGO founded by singer, songwriter and activist Annie Lennox that uses the collective power of women to fight for gender equality, today launches a new campaign, #CirclesOfChange, to raise funds for some of the most vulnerable women and girls across the world, and fight against injustice and inequality.
The positive and uplifting campaign calls on the public to share their stories on social media of women who inspire them – their friends, family, activists and historical figures making up their #CirclesOfChange, and to take a pledge this International Women’s Day to support the world’s most marginalized women and girls around the world.
Annie Lennox, singer, songwriter, human rights activist, and founder of The Circle comments:
“The Circle came from the notion of women connecting, supporting and inspiring each other to become advocates and change agents, through our passion, skills and ideas.
The pandemic has shown that we are all connected, we are a global community, and we are asking people to commit to becoming global feminists. This means listening to the voices of all women. Sharing stories and connecting across communities. It is about standing in solidarity to end oppression, racial injustice, and violence and economic disempowerment. It is about building bridges with people across communities and finding ways to amplify their voices.
I encourage you all to join our campaign and become global feminists. Let’s celebrate the change makers and people who inspire us, and at the same time make a pledge to women and girls everywhere.”
Livia Firth, co-founder of The Circle tells us who is in her #CirclesOfChange:
“The women who inspire me to make a difference around the world are all the garment workers that I have met when I have had the opportunity to travel and meet them and chat to them. Therefore, on this International Women’s Day, I pledge to continue fighting on their behalf for a much fairer fashion world, where they are valued equally.”
This is more important now than ever; The Gates Foundation estimate the 25 years of gains made in gender equality are at threat of being wiped out in just 25 weeks due to the pandemic.
- In 2020 the UK saw a 25% rise in phone calls to the National Domestic Abuse Helpline and police were called out to a domestic violence situation every 3 minutes. The Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis service, who work with The Circle, report that a growing number of women locked down with abusive partners often rely on text message support as lockdown restricts access to services.
- The UN estimate there will be 15 million more cases of domestic violence worldwide for every 3 months of lockdown.
- Women are living in lockdown with abusive partners; many have seen their jobs, income, and security vanish overnight. In some of the world’s poorest places girls have been out of school for prolonged periods of time with no access to home education and at heightened risk of forced marriage, sex trafficking and child labour. Irise, a project in Uganda supported by The Circle, provides emergency food parcels and support to many households now headed by children with few resources or protections.Raakhi Shah, CEO The Circle comments:“International Women’s Day is always a key global moment to commit actions and make pledges towards gender equality and safety for all women and girls. History shows us that collective power can make change. By pledging to support grassroots organisations working on the frontline we can share resources with women and girls across the world, and we can build bridges to a world where women and girls are a step closer to living in a world with equal rights.”In 2020, The Circle supported over 5,000 women and girls disproportionately affected by the pandemic in Asia, Africa and the UK and is doubling down its efforts to support even more women in the coming year.
Examples of how donations will provide support:
• £10 could provide an hour of online support and counselling for women at the Glasgow and
Clyde Rape Crisis
- £25 could provide emergency parcels including food, hygiene kits, menstrual products for five women via the Irise team in Uganda
- £50 could provide ten days safe refuge for a survivor of violence at the Nonceba Centre in South Africa.
Some of the projects that donations will support:
The Nonceba Family Counselling Centre provides shelter for women in Khayelitsha, a township near Cape Town in South Africa. The women and girls, who have survived domestic violence or been victims of human trafficking, are offered a place to stay, counselling, legal support and access to healthcare and victim empowerment groups.
Irise International in Uganda who are providing support and delivering essential supplies to the vulnerable women including food, hand sanitiser, menstrual pads and educational materials.The Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis Centre provides free and confidential support to girls and women who have experienced rape, sexual assault and sexual violence. The Centre offers a wide range of services, including a drop-in service that is a lifeline for survivors.
Garment workers in countries such as Bangladesh who have swiftly found themselves destitute with factories being forced to close due to dwindling orders. Many are struggling to pay for housing or essential supplies. We are working with partners to provide emergency relief packages containing food, protective masks and soap.
The Marie Colvin Journalists’ Network provides support to journalists in conflict zones are exposed to violence, threats and kidnapping. Female journalists suffer sexual assault, threats and abuse more often than men. They are at the front line, reporting stories of global importance from some of the most dangerous places in the world. Local female journalists are the most vulnerable, as they cannot leave the scene and have to live with the consequences of violence.
Book a ticket to The Circle’s International Women’s Day online event to see Annie Lennox in conversation with Baroness Lola Young, discussing global feminism. Plus, renowned journalist and Channel 4 broadcaster, and manager of The Circle’s Marie Colvin Journalists’ Network, Lindsey Hilsum, in conversation with Dima Hamdan a Palestinian-Jordanian journalist, to discuss the legacy of war correspondent Marie Colvin. More guests to be announced. To book click here.
To find out more about the campaign the website page – www.thecircle.ngo/circles-of-change – will be live on the 1st of March.