THERE'S no denying Annie Lennox knows her stuff.

Give the cultural icon a prompt and she talks passionately and knowledgeably about her topic, not mention fearlessly, given the potentially controversial nature of what she is saying.

Lennox is preparing to return to Scotland for an evening of music and conversation that will raise money for her charity, The Circle.

Founded by the Aberdeen-born pop star and activist in 2008, the NGO works globally supporting projects that help to eradicate the gender inequality holding back women and girls - from a project in Morocco helping the mothers of children going through heart surgery, to the Marie Colvin Journalists' Network for female journalists working in the Middle East and North Africa.

It looks to address the underlying issues of inequality that include violence against women, a lack of political and economic empowerment, access to healthcare and a safe and secure livelihood and Lennox says she sees this work as being along a direct line from the work of the Suffragettes to the women's movement of the 1960s - a "baton being passed".

Annie Lennox - An Evening of Music and Conversation will be the first time the 64-year-old has sung in Scotland in more than a decade, and will raise money for The Circle supported projects, including the drop-in clinic at the Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis Centre.

"Girls are exposed to extreme violence," Lennox says, "And it has to be said that gender-based violence is a massive problem around the world. Everywhere.

"I want to raise a lot of money for what [is being done to fix the problems."


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Lennox can talk at length about gender-based inequality with a passion that comes from seeing the issues close up. Her desire to make a difference came after visiting HIV and AIDS projects in Uganda, South Africa and Malawi and realising that women and girls were disproportionately affected.

"I realised through all these journeys that apart from being disempowered and being terribly affected by HIV/AIDS, that women at every level of their lives right from being little girls were disempowered in a way that was so deeply affecting to me that it was almost like looking back into the Dark Ages," Lennox says.

"So when you came back to a western country such as the UK, which is relatively well off, and we are well off - women here are resourced, we have had our rights, not all our rights, but we have done quite well since the Suffragettes and we have had access to education, to reproductive healthcare, to have rights to ownership, to become doctors or lawyers, and these are things that we have in some ways possibly taken for granted in thinking the rest of the world have achieved these too.

"But of course they have not. And I feel there is so much work to be done.

"The Suffragettes started something over a hundred years ago and the onus on women of today is not only #MeToo and Time’s Up, which has been phenomenal, but also that we must look outward and beyond western countries where women have very few human rights."

Lennox is quick to describe herself as a feminist and her passion for change is informed by her feminist principles. But she also feels the word can be problematic and is failing to be inclusive enough to make real change.

Instead, she is advocating the term Global Feminism, a feminism that looks outward to every part of the world - and includes men.

"We’re trying to raise awareness through advocacy and activism so that people have awake up call and realise there is this vast disparity and then we try to harness their inspiration and their ideas towards grassroots projects," Lennox said.

"Things that women can actually do to take it from knowledge to a pro-active response and be supportive of the countless issues women and girls face in terms of gender-based disparity and that is why I am now promoting term Global Feminism - I am now putting the word Global before feminism.

"I have not invented this term, it has not come from me but I think it is an extremely powerful, extremely necessary term.

"If we don’t have terminology, as we didn’t in the past decade, because feminism has been a very tricksy term, people have been having real difficulty with that term and it’s only because of the work of grassroots organisations to get that term back into the zeitgeist and now we must, in my view, introduce and make people aware of the term Global Feminism - putting the word Global before feminism."

Lennox adds: "And it has to be inclusive of men.

"If feminists continue to fight with men and be at odds with men it will continue to be a divisive, polarising experience, whereas Global Feminism is inclusive of men, it believes that men can be allies and that men can stand shoulder to shoulder with us and also that men can be persuasive of their own counterparts and it’s not men that women despise.

"It's not men who women despise. What women despise is the misogynistic attitudes and behaviours of men and that’s what needs to change.

"Global Feminism is saying that feminism is a broad church. It is inclusive of everyone, male, female, trans, it doesn’t matter."

Last year, Glasgow & Clyde Rape Crisis Centre received emergency Scottish government funding after a BBC Children in Need (CiN) grant was not renewed.


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The charity covers an area with a population of more than one million and provides free, confidential support to women and girls who have been raped, sexually assaulted or sexually abused. One of the major conversations in Scotland currently is about self-ID for trans people and how this would impact women's services, such as domestic abuse refuges and Rape Crisis centres.

"[The issue] can become so complex and so divisive and complex that it becomes impossible to discuss," Lennox says. "I have a very broad, open mind and The Circle has not been focused on the trans issue, The Circle has been focusing on women and girls in the developing countries and the issues that women raise globally.

"The trans issue, I will be quite honest with you, has not been part of our agenda so far. But one mustn't be paralysed by disparities that exist.

"It’s never going to be easy and there’s always people who will have a different agenda and a different take on this and one has to be spacious and rather than being adversarial I would look for the places where we have something in common."

As well as her feminism, Lennox is still rooted to Scotland, guided by her working class background and saying her "value system" comes from being Scottish.

At her An Evening of Music and Conversation, on September 26 at the SEC Armadillo, she will be in conversation with author and broadcaster Muriel Gray. Fans, she said, should be looking forward to a "beautiful thing".

"I am very much looking forward to Muriel and I having a very good chat," Lennox says. "We have both been through the same kind of cultural and social shifts and have a lot in common.

"That will be a beautiful thing and it will be spontaneous as well, which will be really special because you don’t know what will come out of a spontaneous event.

"My life has taken me to unusual circumstances, I’ve travelled the world and the seven seas and honestly those values that I have which are decency, being an honourable person who wants to contribute and give back into society, despite the fact I am also someone who lives outside the box.

"It will be lovely and the audience being composed of mainly Scots people will be receptive to some of the things I'll share with them because, although I left Scotland at the age of 17, I am inherently Scottish and those are my roots and always will be. It’s in how I speak.


"It has never left me and why would it? It has informed my entire life and my value system. I’m a continuation of the place I came from."

Tickets for Annie Lennox – An Evening of Music and Conversation at SEC Armadillo, will be on sale from 10am on June 14 2019 online at or by phoning the SEC box office on 0844 395 4000.