The Circle’s Annual Gathering 2019

Our member Rashmi Dubé, Lawyer, Writer and Global Feminist, has written a blog post about our Member’s Annual Gathering last weekend!

The meeting was held at St. James Crypt in London, with speaker’s video calling from Calgary, Beirut and Uganda. This is only my second event with The Circle and I am excited for the day. .

As a lawyer and business owner, I am used to walking into rooms where most people are strangers – a veteran networker – but this feels different. The room is full of women and the energy feels electric. The room seems to vibrate, reverberating with energy as if to almost form a musical note. This is something new and unfamiliar to me, but at the same time it feels welcoming and comfortable. I am immediately at ease and say hello to a few familiar faces. The women are excited, each talking about what they are doing in their circles and wanting to help change. Even with small actions great change can be done. I am already on a high before I sit down.

Sioned opens the programme with a message I take to heart and will carry everyday – “just do it,” no matter how insignificant you think your act is. This very sentiment is later echoed by Eve Ensler.

Annie Lennox takes the stage, joined by Eve Ensler, an American playwright, performer, feminist, and activist best known for her play The Vagina Monologues.

The two speakers delve into conversation, debating the word ‘feminist’ and its connotations. Both have the united goal: to give women and girls a place where they don’t have to be resilient – they can just be, fighting for all women and their rights, equality for women and girls in a fairer world.

Annie pointed out that there are “So many gaps….divides and divisions…” that we need to come together and work together. She acknowledged that it is still “so difficult to use the word feminist…” I could see her point. There is an uneasiness around the word, much like there is around vagina, but should there be? Annie pointed out that the “concept of feminism is [associated] with man hating [and] this is really a big problem. But I genuinely think if men are not brought into the conversation, how we can have a dialogue and change attitudes? …. We must do this. If we don’t we will be in

combat…” . She is right. The more we come together as one community, the better the discussion. From my perspective, we need to empower men to become feminists or, at the very least, allies. The way we use words and “terminology makes things visible”. Annie went to on to say that “feminism must be for everyone” and at the moment “many men feel defensive, they feel attacked [and] you need dialogue [to overcome these issues]”.

Eve Ensler was on a similar message and wants us all to be change-makers, even if only in our small community. She spoke openly about the traumas of her own life and that when we as women effect change. She reminds us that in order to bring about change and make a difference to others you don’t need an army. She refers to the Castro quote “I began the revolution with 82 men. If I had to do it again, I would do it with 10 or 15 and absolute faith. It does not matter how small you are if you have faith and a plan of action.” She continued to say all “you have to [do is] believe, have faith in what you are doing in your circle [and]…don’t minimise it [in your mind]”

She then took me back by saying: “resilience. I don’t like that word why do they [speaking about the women in Congo being used as a tool of war and for control] … have to be resilient” She was questioning how they got into the position of having to be resilient in those circumstances in first place. The very definition of resilience is “1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity. 2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.” My mind wondered back briefly to what Annie had said and the importance of terminology.

As the day closed, the take home for me was that I, one human being, can in my circle make a difference as a Global Feminist, have open dialogue with men and revisit the terminology we use with new eyes.

Get in touch with The Circle today to make your difference in a girl or women’s life.

This article was written by Rashmi Dube, who is the Managing Director of Legatus Law, lawyer, author and freelance writer for the Yorkshire Post. She is a Global feminist changing attitudes through the written word and legislation a ripple at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

#WomenEmpoweringWomen #GlobalFeminism


Annie Lennox in Harpers Bazaar

It all started with a graphic tee.

“I was in a department store, and I saw a T-shirt that had Wonder Woman on it,” Annie Lennox says of the moment that inspired her latest campaign. It was the summer of 2018, and the music icon was trying to figure out how to take the mission of the Circle, the international women’s-rights non-governmental organization she founded in 2008, to the next level.“I looked at the T-shirts and I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, what if Wonder Woman could connect everyday women and men to the facts about the gender inequality experienced by millions of girls and women every day around the globe?’ So I bought the T-shirt, took it home, and put it on. Then I wrote a list of facts and statistics on sheets of drawing paper and had a series of pictures taken for Instagram of myself holding up the messaging.”The result: #OneReasonWhyImAGlobalFeminist, a social-media hashtag campaign promoting Lennox’s message.

Read the full article here!

#WomenEmpoweringWomen #GlobalFeminism


Annie Lennox asks “Are you a Global Feminist?”

 

Annie Lennox is the special guest on this episode of The Global GoalsCast. The rock star talks about why she moved away from music and into an activist role fighting HIV / AIDS and working to improve the lives of girls and women around the world. She urges women — and men — to embrace the term Global Feminism.

“If you use the term Global Feminism to describe what you represent and what you stand for,” Lennox says, “you understand feminism all around the world. It is not only from a western perspective.”

At its heart, Global Feminism recognises that there are millions of girls and women around the world that “don’t have a voice and by using the term you’re making them present and known.”

Facts and Actions are offered by Sioned Jones, Executive Director of The Circle, the organisation founded by Annie Lennox. You will also hear about the Index of Women Entrepreneurs created by our sponsor MasterCard. Listen now!

Edie Lush, Producer of Global GoalsCast, has told us a little bit about how podcast came about and her collaboration with The Circle:

“I started the Global GoalsCast with my co-host Claudia Romo Edelman two years ago after we met in Davos. We were introduced by Stan Stalnaker, the founder of Hub Culture where I am Executive Editor. The podcast was Stan’s idea! I’m a journalist and communication trainer and Claudia is a development specialist with many years at the United Nations. I was hugely excited to win an award last year from the UN for the podcast.

My goal is to tell you the stories of one of the most remarkable combined efforts in human history. 193 nations have set goals for 11 years from now, ranging from ending extreme poverty to fighting climate change and making the world a better place. Claudia and I have made the Global GoalsCast  the place where you come to find the stories of the people who are ticking off the tasks on the world’s to do list.

I love this collaboration with The Circle because The Global GoalsCast is biased towards women both in our organisational structure and the stories we feature. We’ve had some cracking episodes – let me tell you about some of the women we’ve featured:

In the Revolutionary Power of Food, we featured Charity Mulengu, a 32-year old widowed mother of two who is a market trader in Zambia who is using an ‘eBay for Farmers’ to sell produce to help feed her family. Before the app enabled her to advertise and sell her crops, she would haul as much as 550 pounds of produce to a market in the hope of finding people who wanted to buy it. It was expensie and time-consuming – she had to leave her children with her mother to travel. ‘Now I can communicate direct with the farmer,’ she said ‘we agree on the thing which I want. For example, if I want five bags of cowpeas. I will communicate with the farmr .. Then the farmer can send those five bags to me.’

In They Are the Code we featured Senegalese activist and businesswoman Mariéme Jamme who is a living example of how technology can help elevate young women out of dire situations. Raped by a teacher at the age of 11 years old, Jamme was trafficked from her native Senegal to France at age 13 and sold into prostitution. Two years later, French police picked her off the streets. She ended up in the U.K, where she began her education.  She told me that ‘I was starting my alphabet when I was 16’. Jamme came to prominence and found activism when she wrote an open and critical blog to Live Aid organiser Bob Geldof and U2 frontman Bono criticizing the way Africa was being portrayed in materials related to the famous concert’s 25th Anniversary. That led to her being tapped for advice on how to represent African women and girls in the media and bring balance to coverage of the continent. Mariéme wanted to be more than just a voice and an adviser. She wanted to give more women and girls the ability to speak for themselves. Her movement, I am the Code, brings girls together to learn life skills and equip them with the technology to do something about it.

In Comedy Can Do More Than Make Us Laugh, we featured three female comedians who are using comedy to break stereotypes. One of the comics we featured is Noam Shuster, an Israeli woman. Noam’s father is a Romanion Jew and her mother was born in Iran, which makes her background a unique cultural hybrid. After what she considers a failed sting in a peace organisation, Noam turned to comedy and found that her heritage allowed her a special way in. She said ‘one of the places that comedy has brought me is to be the first Jewish performer in a Palestinian comedy festival. There were two guys who are sitting in the front row looking at me, like, what is this Jew going to tell us, you know? So I walk on stage and I’m thinking, how am I going to break the ice? Like what? It’s a crowd of 300 Palestinians. So I walk in on stage and I look and them and I tell them ‘Habibi, relax. I’m only here for seven minutes, not 70 years’.

Look out of more episodes of this incredible podcast!

#GlobalFeminism #WomenEmpoweringWomen


Global Feminism Film

As the women’s rights movement pushes forward, internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter, performer and Human Rights activist Annie Lennox and the NGO she founded, The Circle, have partnered with Apple Music for a Global International Women’s Day initiative launched today.

Together with Sammy Andrews and her team at Deviate Digital, they have created a short film in support of Global Feminism, an umbrella term inclusive of all approaches to women’s equality.

To help her, Annie has drawn support from some of the biggest names in music, film and beyond, including Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa, Richard E Grant, Emeli Sande, Hozier, Richa Chadha, Eddie Izzard, Gwendoline Christie, Farhan Akhtar, Beverley Knight and Mary J Blige. Watch and share the short film below:

While we celebrate and acknowledge the advancement in women rights over the past 100 years, we must make sure it’s inclusive for all. The short film aims to highlight the injustices still experienced by millions of women and girls the world over – from misogyny, rape and violence to pay disparity.

Every woman and girl, no matter where they live, no matter the colour their skin, no matter what religious faith, no matter what – MUST have access to the same basic human rights. Global Feminists believe in equality of rights, with empowerment and justice made available for every woman and girl in every corner of the world.

Annie Lennox: “Disempowerment creates an appalling way of life for millions of women and girls around the world. While physical or sexual violence affects one in three women, and two thirds of the world’s 757 million adults who cannot read or write are women … these are only two on a long list of disparity and injustice. We cannot ignore the fact that feminism must have a global reach.”

“At a time when there seems to be so much polarity and division in the world, the term ‘global feminism’ offers an opportunity for people from every walk of life, colour of skin, gender or sexual orientation to understand and identify with the bigger global picture. We need to stand shoulder to shoulder in support of human rights, justice and equality for women and girls everywhere in the world, especially in countries where they are not even near the lowest rung of the ladder.”

Rachel Newman (Apple Music Global Head of Editorial):Annie Lennox is not only one of the most prolific women in music, but one of the most dedicated and passionate women’s rights advocates of our time. Her efforts to better this world are truly inspiring and her impact is undeniable. This International Women’s Day we are thrilled and honored to support this incredible artist and share her message of #globalfeminism with our global audience.”

Sioned Jones (Executive Director, The Circle): “Global Feminism is at the heart of what we do as we strive for a more equal and fairer world for women and girls. On this International Women’s Day having a chance to remind us all of the huge inequalities and injustices that remain for millions of women and girls across the globe is important in ensuring no one is left behind in being able to realise their basic human rights. We thank Annie, Apple Music and all the contributors who have given up their time and support to this film and we all stand together as Global Feminists.”


Share your own #OneReasonWhyImAGlobalFeminist on social media and tag @thecirclengo and Annie Lennox!

#GlobalFeminism #WomenEmpoweringWomen


Global Feminist Calendar: March and April 2019

Image Credit: Poet in the City

With International Women’s Day on 8 March, the next few weeks are packed with feminist events! Find out what’s happening near you!

March 2 – The Circle Member’s Annual Gathering (London)

Our Annual Gathering is an opportunity to bring our valued members together to thank and acknowledge you all for your support in our work, as we reflect on our achievements over the past 12 months and share our plans and strategy for 2019.
As we know from previous years, it’s also an event full of inspiration and motivation from the range of speakers and fellow guests. This year we are thrilled and honoured to announce that joining us will be our Founder Annie Lennox in conversation with Eve Ensler where they will share what drives their passion and activism for women’s rights and their hopes for the feminist movement.

March 2 – Practical Feminist Allyship for Men at Home and at Work (Sheffield)

The Feminist Men Project (FMP) is excited to present two new workshops on Practical Feminist Allyship for Men at Home and at Work.

Since #MeToo we have seen high profile men in the spotlight being exposed for the violence they have committed. Others have come out to raise awareness of their roles as feminist allies and reflect on masculinity and specifically on ‘toxic masculinity’.

Patrick Stewart recently spoke on a panel for Refuge to discuss domestic violence; Idris Elba has challenged why men are resistant to the #MeToo movement; Justin Baldoni and Jackson Katz have spoken at TED about masculinity and men’s role in speaking out against violence against women (VAWG).

We wish to provide a bridge between these ideas and the men who want to engage with them. We provide an environment for earnest discussion of these issues where we can facilitate a practical understanding of how men can be more supportive of women at home and at work.

March 3 – Care International’s March4Women (London)

On 3 March 2019, members and volunteers of The Circle will be taking part in Care International’s #March4Women.
It will be an uplifting afternoon of speeches, entertainment, solidarity and action suitable for the whole family – and it’s indoors so this year you won’t get wet or cold!
We’ll be taking forward the global fight for gender equality by asking you to join us in calling for a worldwide treaty to protect women everywhere from violence and harassment in the workplace. We’ll have contributions from activists from the UK and around the world – and you will have the opportunity to lend your voice to our campaign. Our aim is to ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalised women and girls, including garment workers, domestic workers and those living in extreme poverty, have protection. Please join us to help make 2019 another #March4Women step forward for gender equality!

Tickets to the event are limited, so please make sure you book ahead to avoid disappointment. Tickets are £5, but if you feel that you could help contribute towards the cost of running the event, you can also donate £10 when you buy your ticket.

5 March – Towards Zero Tolerance: Putting Gender into a Theory of Violence and Society (London)

The UN Sustainable Development Goals aspire to end violence against women and reduce violence in general. According to Pinker, drawing on Elias, violence is decreasing.

The new scholarship from women and the Global South has challenged this account, documenting the scale of the violence from the powerful. Moving the analysis of violence from the margin to the centre of contemporary social science requires rethinking the concept of violence, treating it as an institution parallel in significance to economy, polity and civil society. Is domestic violence better addressed as ‘coercive control’ or as ‘violent crime’? Is it connected to gendered economic inequalities or to men’s motivation to control? Is it better addressed by increasing the criminalisation of perpetrators of violence or increased specialised welfare support to potential and actual victims?

The answer offered here is to mainstream gender into the concept and measurement of violence and into a theory of society.

7 March – IWD: Drink & Draw with Girl Gang Leeds (Leeds)

As part of our week-long event series to celebrate International Women’s Day, join us for an evening of drawing, drinking hot chocolate and chatting.

Leeds based artist and teacher Rosanna Gammon will be leading us in an event inspired by great women from history.

This class is totally free and open to women, non binary and trans people of all ages. Under 12’s must be accompanied by an adult.

Equipment will be provided but please feel free to bring your own pencils etc if you have some favourites.

8 March – What Now? Annie Lennox at Wow Festival (London)

On Friday 8 March in What Now? looks at the here and now. From politics to financial empowerment, from toxic masculinity to the intersection of sexism, racism and homophobia here are the subjects that matter most collated from WOW Thinkins around the world.
Annie Lennox leads a conversation on Global Feminism, and how local activism can turn into international solidarity; Julia Gillard, the first woman Prime Minister of Australia, talks about resilience and her mission to dispel the myths about female leadership, and we put money high on the agenda with a challenge to talk more about our personal finances – in particular, our pensions. Other speakers include: Gina Miller, the woman who successfully challenged the UK government’s authority to trigger Article 50; Rizzle Kicks musician and actor Jordan Stephens on the effects of toxic masculinity; Scarlett Curtis, curator of Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and Other Lies); Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones), actor and co-creator of daisie, a new online community for creative collaboration; stand-up comedian Rosie Jones; cellist and singer Ayanna Witter-Johnson as well as spoken word from some of the UK’s best established and up and coming poets.

8 March – International Women’s Day: Networking Brunch with The Circle (Oxford)

Join us to celebrate International Women’s Day with a networking brunch at The Alchemist Oxford on Friday 8th March from 10am!

Tickets are a £5 charity donation (excluding fees) to The Circle, an organisation of women working together to achieve equality for women and girls in a fairer world. Founded by Annie Lennox in 2008, The Circle is inspired by the notion that when women come together and organise, they can be a powerful force for change. They are a network of women from all walks of life and all backgrounds who have something in common: the awareness that we still do not live in a world where women and girls have equal rights and equal opportunities.
We are proud to welcome a speaker from The Circle who will be holding a talk on female empowerment, accompanied by Oxfordshire Mind who will be holding a discussion on women’s mental health in business.
This event provides a chance to meet inspirational women, share your thoughts and stories as a woman in business whilst enjoying panoramic views of the City of Spires.

8 March – International Women’s Day March in Edinburgh (Edinburgh)

Hosted by Women’s Strike Assembly, this is an invitation to feminists of all genders to join cis women, trans women and non-binary people of any ethnicity or sexual orientation, who have been marginalised or disadvantaged by the patriarchy to march in Edinburgh on International Women’s Day.

On 8 March they will speak out and resist to say enough!

People from around Edinburgh will gather in joyful militancy and peacefully to draw attention to the situation of inequity of women around the world. Experiences of being marginalised are shaped by interconnecting systems of oppression such as sexism, racism, anti-blackness, classism, dis-ableism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, trans-misogyny, whorephobia, fat-phobia, islamophobia, and antisemitism.

Spread the word and invite your family, friends and community!!! You can also support the movement by signing and sharing their femifesto here.

8 March – Freedom4Girls Open Mic Night (Leeds)

In honour of International Women’s Day, Freedom4Girls are hosting an Open Mic Night at Lambert’s Yard in the centre of Leeds. This is happening on 8 March and they really hope to see you there to have an amazing night of celebrating women and the work Freedom4Girls has achieved so far!

Period Poverty is a very real issue in the UK and on our door steps here in Leeds. Come and see how this is affecting young women, women and girls across the country as well as the work Freedom4Girls have achieved in Kenya and Uganda.

The event will also take the opportunity to thank all of their amazing volunteers who have supported in our work so far, at our workshops, delivering and donating products, sorting our stock at FareShare…. this is a celebration of your hard work too!

There will be singers, comedians, spoken word artists perform.

And, fitting with the work F4G started in Kenya all those years ago, we are incredibly excited to announce our headline act, Kenyan born UK comedian and author, Njambi McGrath.

Until 10 March – Women Who Shaped Manchester (Manchester)

Shedding light on some of the most important women from Manchester who helped transform the future of women’s suffrage, the John Rylands Library’s exhibition perfectly captures the individuals’ passion and strength. Read Emmeline Pankhurst’s inspiring letter that called to those prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of equality, and admire the scroll presented to Enriqueta Rylands, the first freewoman of the City of Manchester.

10 March – Black Power Women of Brixton Walk (London)

Women’s role in the fight for black civil and equal rights in Britain has been severely marginalised. This walk through Brixton, London will show the life, stories, and activities of numerous African/Caribbean women in the area. Documenting the anti-racist fight in housing, education and politics from the 1950’s to the 1980’s, the two hour and 15 minute walk will cover newspaper publisher and campaigner Claudia Jones, the Depo Provera birth control scandal, the Black Panther Women of Brixton and more.

10 March – International Women’s Day Celebration (London)

One of our members is organising an event to raise money for The Circle and celebrate International Women’s Day 2019 in Croydon! The line up will include singers, spoken word performances, dancing and other festivities. This event is free to attend and will also be collecting sanitary products for We-Stap. Come along to hear some incredible performances!

13 March – Global Feminism: Ending Violence Against Women (London)

The Circle invites you to attend a new series of films inspired by the Annie Lennox campaign to promote Global Feminism, encouraging everyone to further understand the inequality around the world for the most disempowered women and girls.
The first film, City of Joy, shows a ray of hope in a country where sexual violence is a weapon of war. Turning Pain Into Power is the theme this amazing project, a sanctuary of healing and transformation for women who have been traumatised by the most horrendous violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Annie Lennox urges everyone to watch this inspirational film demonstrating that we can effect changes to enhance and empower the lives of women across the globe.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with a panel sharing their experience of visiting the Panzi Hospital in DRC, founded by 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Winner and City of Joy Consultant Dr, Denis Mukwege.

4 April – Intersectional Feminism in the time of #MeToo (London)

Guardian journalist Maya Wolfe-Robinson chairs a discussion between activist Marai Larasi and writer and communications strategist Chelsea Fuller. Larasi is Director of Imkaan, a UK-based women’s organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black and minoritised women and girls, and Fuller is Senior Communications Manager at US-based Blackbird, a strategic communications firm which services racial and social justice organisations and is a key innovator behind the #MeToo movement and the Movement for Black Lives in the US.

Intersectional feminism acknowledges that oppression intersects with systems of society such as race, gender and class.

Founded in 2006 by African-American civil rights activist Tarana Burke in response to the sexual violence she saw in her community, the #MeToo movement centres upon the power of empathy between survivors of sexual assault. The movement was popularised on social media in 2017 when allegations against Harvey Weinstein led to his arrest. Established in 2014, the Movement for Black Lives is a coalition of groups across the US which represent the interests of Black communities. It was created as a response to the sustained and increasingly visible violence against Black communities, with the purpose of forming a united front and securing a political platform.

Working at the intersection of racial justice and advocacy against sexual violence, Marai Larasi and Chelsea Fuller discuss the roots of the Movement for Black Lives and #MeToo, examining what has changed since their popularisation, the challenging conversations yet to be had between them, and the potential ground for future collaboration.

13 April – Suitable Women: Films of Female Friendship (Glasgow)

Pity Party Film Club presents an all-day event showcasing four on-screen depictions of female friendship throughout the decades. Grab your best friend and make a day of it!

Until 14 April – 209 Women Exhibition (London)

There are 209 women in the House of Commons, and although it’s still a way off gender parity, this does mark the highest female representation there has ever been in UK politics.
To mark 100 years since some women gained the right to vote, and to champion the visibility of women, particularly in male-dominated environments, photographer Hilary Wood has created the 209 Women project.
The exhibition – 204 portraits of the female MPs, all shot by female photographers – can be seen at Portcullis House in London until 14 February. After that, it will open in Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery from 1 March to 14 April.

15 April – Audre Lorde: Sister Outsider (London)

Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference – those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill”

An empowering evening of live poetry performances and discussion inviting you to get to know the mighty voice of Audre Lorde: black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.

A prolific American writer, intersectional feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist, Lorde dedicated her life and creative energies to challenging and addressing discriminations of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia. She firmly advocated self-love as an act of resistance, and empowered generations of marginalised individuals to defy the prejudiced societies in which they lived by openly loving themselves and believing in their dreams

#WomenEmpoweringWomen #GlobalFeminism


How I’ll Be a Better Feminist in 2019

Photo Credit: She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, 2014.

This month we are opening up our blog to our members. Rosie writes about her feminist New Year’s resolutions for the coming year!

Read more

I think that reading about feminism is the best way to become a better Global Feminist. It allows you to understand the viewpoints of other women from around the world and is also a great way to keep up to date on current discussions surrounding contemporary women’s rights. On my reading list for this year are ‘Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies’ by Scarlett Curtis, ‘Why We Should All Be Feminists’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‎, ‘I am Malala’ Malala Yousafzai and ‘Eve Was Shamed’ by Helena Kennedy. I think that is an important gateway into the experiences of women from different cultures and backgrounds to my own. I believe that these different perspectives further encourage me to become a truly Global Feminist. These texts are written by women who write from a number of different viewpoints, either having experienced different modes sexism or misogyny themselves, or their professions such as journalists have led them to discover the stories of women who may not have the platform to share their own experiences.

Ensure that my feminism is intersectional

All sexism and misogyny is deplorable and all women’s experiences matter. I recognize that my experience does not reflect the whole spectrum of oppression faced by women around the world and I want to be an ally for all women. For those experiencing forced marriage or FGM, for the women that have been trafficked for sex or have been failed by the law after suffering rape or sexual assault, those who are unable to access a safe and legal abortion, and others who have to give birth in dangerous conditions. It is for these women that I vow to support. Global Feminism is about all women coming together and sharing cultures and experience, it encourages us to understand inequalities and oppression on a global scale.

Put my money where my mouth is

I love clothes and I love fashion, but I also plan to find out more about the inequalities rife within the garment sector. I know that 80% of garment workers are women and that they often work in unsafe conditions for long hours with little pay and fewer labour laws. This also puts them at risk of sexual harassment from their bosses and in a lot of instances maternity leave is limited to non-existent. This year, I really want to make sure as many of my clothes as possible are made in an ethical way, even if this means buying less. I will commit to learning more about sweatshop free brands to make sure my purchasing decisions don’t enslave the women making my clothes.

Educate friends and family

This year, I want to educate my friends and family about Global Feminism at every chance I get. I find that many men don’t engage in feminism and are not always aware of their privilege. This mindset also applies to women who are purely interested in Western feminism, to those who will happily wear a ‘Girl Power’ shirt without considering the plight of the woman who made it. Taking the opportunity to talk to these men and women in your life is an opportunity to communicate the values Global Feminism and some of the shocking statistics that quantify the level of inequality across the globe. Speaking to friends and family is also a good way of communicating an accurate definition of feminism and what that entails. I know men who admit that they were hesitant to support the feminist cause because they believed that the movement was rooted in a hatred of men. This year I want to spread the word by inviting my friends to watch feminist films, lending them books and recommending podcasts.

Empower other women

Every day I want to try and take little actions that help other women. This means that I won’t wait until the next big protest or social media hashtag to assert my feminism, but I will support women at every chance I get. I resolve to make space for my female colleagues to speak in work meetings, to back up their ideas and to make sure they get the credit. I will help women who are being harassed in a bar or on the street and call out sexist comments. I already call out everyday sexism in my social circle, but 2019 will be the year that I take this further – to work, to the street and online.

Network with like-minded women

In 2019, I want to connect more with other global feminists. I have a bit of a fear of networking situations, so I also want to take every opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. I also believe that I could learn a lot from the perspectives of others, which in turn will make me a better feminist. Types of networking I would love to take part in includes charity events, social media, feminist book clubs and debates. I would also like to volunteer with charities that support women globally so I can learn more about how I can help other women.

Be kinder to all my sisters

The world is harsh enough on women already so we should all be making the effort to empower each other. We need to support one another to make real change. We don’t need to be complicit in unrealistic beauty standards by judging each other on what we wear or how much we weigh. Nor should we be shaming other women for their sexuality, career or lifestyle choices. Stick up for your sisters in 2019!

This article was written by Rosie Greenfield, member of The Circle.

#WomenEmpoweringWomen #WidenYourCircle #OneReasonWhyImAGlobalFeminist


Widen Your Circle: with The Circle member Laura

“We are often led to believe that there is only space and resources for a few of us and that whatever other women get will be taken from us”

This month, as part of Widen Your Circle, we have spoken to a number of our members about their involvement with The Circle and what it means to be a member!

Laura is a set and costume designer with a background in fashion. The inequalities present in the fashion industry are incredibly important to her and she is currently trying to engage more people in the complex matters that surround it.

Why did you decide to become a member?

I had heard about the work of The Lawyers Circle on the Living Wage Report and I was interested in the organization, but what really made up my mind was finding myself at an event in this room full of women who had come together because they wanted to help change things. I left full of inspiration, motivation and energy.

What does The Circle mantra “women empowering women” means to you?

For me, it’s a reminder that we should always try to be other women’s first supporters. We are often led to believe that there is only space and resources for a few of us and that whatever other women get will be taken from us. However, I am convinced that helping others succeed also facilitates our own achievements.

What impact has The Circle had on your life?

It has allowed me to meet women with innovative and exciting ideas that I may have never have done. It has given me a chance to connect with women who work in different industries from mine, have different connections and with whom I have been able to start projects that are important to me. At The Circle I have found a great community that has helped me to become a more active citizen.

Can you tell us what project is important to you and your circle and why?

The Fashion Circle is reshaping at the moment, which I guess is a great opportunity to start exciting new projects. The issue of a Living Wage in the Fashion industry is still very important to me. This is why I organised a Chai Day in December with another member, Lydia, in which we talked about the idea of the Living wage and the difference it could make in the life of female garment workers. We encouraged our guests to be curious, to ask questions about the issues of the fashion industry, and to act to change them.

#WidenYourCircle #WomenEmpoweringWomen #OneReasonWhyImAGlobalFeminist


Widen Your Circle: with The Circle member Mabel

We must support and empower each other, otherwise we will constantly be fighting against a system that is designed for us to fail

This month, as part of Widen Your Circle, we have spoken to a number of our members about their involvement with The Circle and what it means to be a member!

Mabel is a documentary film maker who also co-founded The Vavengers, a charity that holds music and poetry nights, exhibitions and plays to raise money for the survivors of Female Genital Mutilation and the clinics and organisations that they run. In 2015 they launched the UK’s first ever anti-FGM billboards. They are now working to engage the creative community to raise awareness and funds, improve data collection and ultimately stop women and girls being cut.

Why did you decide to become a member?

I decided to become a member of The Circle because I don’t think we as Western women take enough time to consider the experience of women globally. Often, we inhabit our own bubble and assume that most women enjoy the privileges we have. The Circle is actively trying to tackle this by supporting grassroots projects globally. That is why I want to be a member.  

What does The Circle’s mantra of #WomenEmpoweringWomen mean to you?

The mantra Women Empowering Women is at the core of my belief system with regards to tackling gender-based violence. We must support and empower each other, otherwise we will constantly be fighting against a system that is designed for us to fail. It’s the women who have infiltrated this system that have the chance to empower those who have been stripped of their voices.

What impact has The Circle had on your life?

The Circle has given me a lot of insight into areas of inequality that I rather embarrassingly had not considered, for example, fast fashion.  Attending The Circle events has really opened my eyes to the problems around fast fashion. The events have been a source of both information and inspiration. I have also connected with many exceptional like-minded women at these events.

#WidenYourCircle #WomenEmpoweringWomen #OneReasonWhyImAGlobalFeminist


Widen Your Circle: with The Circle member Katie

Photo credit: Fluid4Sight. Katie with singer Gill Manly at their Chai Day event in November

Women have an amazing capacity to forge immensely nourishing, deep, powerful bonds with each other – and when we harness that it becomes a force for change.

This month, as part of Widen Your Circle, we have spoken to a number of our members about their involvement with The Circle and what it means to be a member!

Katie Rose is a new member of The Circle who has already been involved in our Chai Day fundraising initiative. Katie is a musician who is a ‘daily witness the profound wellbeing benefits of singing in my work. Working with choirs has taught me that we can join our diverse voices together to create a beauty, peace and strength that can change the world’. She leads choirs in community settings including hospitals, hospices, carers centres and co-directs Sing for Water, an annual mass choral fundraiser for WaterAid at Totally Thames.

Why did you decide to become a member of The Circle?
I joined after hearing Annie’s inspiring speech at the Women’s Day March 2018

What does The Circle’s mantra of #WomenEmpoweringWomen mean to you?
Ultimately it means busting through the patriarchal conditioning that oppresses and divides women.  Women have an amazing capacity to forge immensely nourishing, deep, powerful bonds with each other – and when we harness that it becomes a force for change.  I am continually uplifted, inspired and moved by my exchanges, discussions, friendships and collaborations with women.  Cherishing these individual bonds and widening them out to include and collaborate with other women is what we do naturally, when we have space to flourish – so the image of the ever-widening circle is so resonant and for me represents how we can build a non-hierarchical, mutually supportive movement.  We can each bring whatever platform, voice, influence, gifts, talents or resources we have available to support the cause of women worldwide – even just a tiny drop of rain can create a ripple in the ocean.  I want to help smash the glass ceilings of my generation to create freedom for the girls and women of the future.

What impact has The Circle had on your life?
It is that sense of not being alone, of being connected to a wider movement. I was brought up by a feminist and will remain a feminist until women no longer face oppression.  It is so good to be amongst strong, talented, inspiring women who have their own understanding of what being a feminist means and to stand in solidarity, honouring our unique perspectives and the diversity of the needs and issues facing women around the world.

Can you tell us about what project is important to you and your circle, and why?
I’m quite new to The Circle so am still finding out about all the projects and circles. As a singer, I am committed to creating arts events that contribute to raising funds and awareness with leading female artists in my community –  we hosted a Chai Day in November and hope to run a Women’s Day event in March.

Find out more about Katie’s work here!

#WidenYourCircle #WomenEmpoweringWomen #OneReasonWhyImAGlobalFeminist