Excerpt from a piece in The Independent on International Women’s Day 2022
To her undeniable credit, Lennox has not only put her money where her mouth is but also, perhaps more importantly, taken action. Inspired first by the people she met raising awareness of aid work through music, she started a non-profit called SING in 2007, and NGO The Circle, a year later. The Circle’s big call to action is global feminism, which Lennox and her team are at pains to get across. Their message is consistent that one woman’s problem is every woman’s problem and geography is irrelevant. The Circle works by bringing grassroots activists together in collaboration, and providing financial or practical support, like legal teams for instance, to achieve set goals focused on economic empowerment and ending violence against women and girls.
“Our name felt so perfect because it is all about that notion of connecting, and holding hands or standing shoulder to shoulder,” Raakhi Shah, Chief Executive of the non-profit, says. “It’s about bringing everyone round a physical [or metaphorical] table.” It was founded at a time when the word “feminist” wasn’t as accepted as it is today, Shah and Lennox agree. Now they’re determined to vocalise the notion that all feminism should be global and intersectional.
And it’s making headway. Some of their current projects include the campaign for EU legislation for a living wage for garment workers facing some of the most precarious working conditions in the world – for this, they are supporting Kalpona Akter, co-founder of the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity (BCWS). They have centres in Sri Lanka, a leadership programme in Uganda and support the Marie Colvin Journalists’ Network. In the UK, they’ve partnered with Sikh Women’s Aid to tackle the negative impact of exploitation of women and girls in the South Asian community.
Over International Women’s Day they launched a new campaign – Hear Her. Empower Her – to support women globally, which brings together survivor-led films and stories from Uganda, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the UK and other countries. The aim is to amplify voices of those women who have survived abuse and poverty and attempted to eradicate some of the shame that perpetuates the cycle. Since the threat of gender-based violence escalates during times of conflict, their structure will be a timely aid to the plight of women currently in or fleeing Ukraine.
Read the full article here
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