International Women’s Day 2023

When one in three of us experience violence, every day is Women’s Day

With reports of rape and violence against women reaching record levels, we need global change now, writes Annie Lennox

Tuesday 07 March 2023 21:30 GMT
Millions of women in developing countries work in unsafe conditions
Millions of women in developing countries work in unsafe conditions (Getty)

When women from the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York helped start a strike in 1909, they became pioneers in the fight for better pay and conditions for female workers. 

Those protests evolved into what we now recognise as International Women’s Day, and over the decades an ever-wider range of vital issues have become associated with that day, from reproductive rights and gender-based violence, to the fight for basic freedoms in Afghanistan and Iran.  

I proudly identify as a Global Feminist, so for me, every day is International Women’s Day.

That is why I co-founded The Circle with like-minded women in 2008. We are an organisation dedicated to promoting global feminism, achieving equal rights in every corner of the Earth, and ending the violence suffered by countless women and girls around the world on a daily basis.

Well over a hundred years on from that Manhattan factory strike, it is a shocking fact that the women workforce of the global fashion industry and beyond still do not enjoy basic human rights.

Millions of women in developing countries work in unsafe conditions, experiencing slave wages, wage theft, abuse and violence all for the benefit of big brands.

And this is just one example of women, yet again, being deprived of their liberty, trapped in extreme poverty, and bearing the brunt of gender-based violence.

Every 11 minutes, a woman somewhere in the world is murdered in her own home. A quarter of 15- to 19-year-olds who’ve had a relationship have also been attacked by their partner. In total, one in three women will suffer physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

ONE IN THREE.  Almost 1.3 billion in total.  

The Circle is a unique, global network supporting thousands of individual women and girls every year through our grassroots partners in countries such as Sri Lanka, Uganda, South Africa and the UK, but we also advocate for the global change that will make a difference to billions.

And it is that global change we need now more than ever. With women’s rights being eroded the world over, and reports of rape and violence against women reaching new record levels, it is now we must all step up and stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with women everywhere around the world.

Singer-songwriter, political activist and philanthropist, Annie Lennox founded The Circle in 2008

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