Feminism isn't a swearword‚ Lennox tells Women Deliver conference - Times LIVE
   
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Feminism isn't a swearword‚ Lennox tells Women Deliver conference

Tanya Farber | 2016-05-17 10:15:07.0
Annie Lennox, Margaret Chan and Gro Harlem Brundtland attend the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Image by: SCANPIX DENMARK / REUTERS

Copenhagen - Global rock star and Aids activist Annie Lennox brought 5500 people - including a Danish princess‚ a prime minister‚ and the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) - to their feet in solidarity on Monday.

This was at the opening of the Women Deliver conference in Copenhagen‚ the largest gathering in the world of people working towards sexual and reproductive health and rights for women and children.

Said Lennox: "A few years ago I won an award at a women's rights meeting. I said‚ 'let's all stand up in solidarity with feminism'. Only half the room stood up."

She said feminism isn't a swearword and that both men and women could be feminists.

Every person in the room‚ from 170 countries‚ stood up this time.

Lennox‚ who is ambassador for UNAids‚ said former president Nelson Mandela continued to be her inspiration ever since inviting her to sing at the launch of 46664 in 2003.

Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess Mary of Denmark said her inspiration for women's rights came seven years ago when someone from Chad said to her "in my country when a woman gives birth she has one foot in the grave".

She said: "That 300 000 women die globally every year from giving birth is not okay. That 15-million girls are married off before 18 every year is not okay. That 3-million girls experience female genital mutilation each year is not okay.”

Dr Margaret Chan‚ head of the WHO‚ said women had to work with and not against men to end violence and discrimination.

Sakena Yacoobi‚ who battled Taliban gunmen to fight for the rights of girl children‚ said "education for girls is the key to prevent so many of these problems".

She said women make up 40% of the workforce but have to do up to 10 times more of the child caring".

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said that many countries were on the same path as Denmark (which was voted best country to be a woman in 2016) and were "discovering the same thing - that when you invest in women‚ women deliver".

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