Annie Lennox says gender equality fight has now reached a global ‘tipping point’

Scottish singing superstar and human rights campaigner Annie Lennox believes the fight to secure gender equality has reached a “tipping point” – as she credited becoming a mother with inspiring her own activism.
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The Aberdeen-born singer-songwriter said global feminism had arrived at a pivotal “moment” due the level of debate over the treatment of girls and women.

Speaking on the Skunk Anansie singer Skin’s podcast, Lennox told how the trauma of losing her first child had been a “turning point” in becoming a human rights campaigner.

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The 66-year-old said activists had to be to “really well informed” on how to protect themselves against criticism.

Lennox also spoke of her distrust of politicians, saying she had had always felt “let down” by them.

She said society was still “extremely broken and extremely damaged” over its treatment of women and young girls, but insisted she was optimistic that change was coming.

Lennox added: “I’m not a psychoanalyst, but I have wondered about why it is. Is it nature or is it nurtured?

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“There are so many conversations that need to be had. I’ve been really yearning to have them.

Annie Lennox was speaking on Skunk Anansie singer Skin's podcast.Annie Lennox was speaking on Skunk Anansie singer Skin's podcast.
Annie Lennox was speaking on Skunk Anansie singer Skin's podcast.

"It’s almost as if there is a tipping point, somebody says ‘we have permission now’ and suddenly everyone wants to have these conversations. That’s been missing for decades and it needed to happen.

“It’s very difficult to be an activist and put your head above the parapet if you’re sensitive to being shot down, because you will be.

“They will come at you and you will just simply crumble if you can’t take it. You have to be really well informed on how best to protect yourself.”

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The singer, who has two daughters, is a prominent campaigner to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS for decades. She founded a global support network for women and girls and has also worked extensively with human rights group Amnesty International.

Lennox added: “I’ve been looking back at a lot over this last year. It’s given me the opportunity to be reflective and introspective. I've been thinking a lot about my past, my upbringing, my journey.

“The activism has always kind of been there. It feels like part of my DNA and is in my bloodstream.

"My father’s side of the family were were very political and left-wing, but I’ve never joined a political party. I’ve always felt let down by politicians. I’ve always felt they’ve always had a political agenda and never trusted them.

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“One of the real turning points for me was becoming a mother. I had been through so much as a strident performer and songwriter, with different manifestations and wearing different hats.

“To be really personal about it, I lost my first baby. It was so traumatic and so life-changing that my whole perception changed in a nanosecond. The loss was immense.

“I was in that trauma and grief and realising right away that there were millions of other women that had been through this massive loss. It was just a complete overnight moment.

“I couldn’t imagine being in a position of giving birth where you have no access to healthcare. I was also thinking about the mothers who had died giving birth and the young girls who may not have chosen to become pregnant and were maybe giving birth in dangerous circumstances.“

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