In partnership with Google, we went behind the scenes again this year with Lovie winners to learn all about the hard work, dedication, and passion that went into making their projects, and to ask what it means to each of them to be a part of the European Internet as a whole.
Today, we’re bringing you all these new stories in The Lovie Letters showcase, featuring an exclusive interview with Annie Lennox, our 2016 Lovie Person of the Year.
We sat down with Annie Lennox who not only shared how her organisation, The Circle, came about, but also how the Internet was a key player in creating this space to empower girls and women across the world. Take a look:
What lead you to create your own organisation, The Circle? What is the mission of The Circle?
I am passionate about the extreme and unjust disparity that exists regarding girls and women around the globe, in terms of lack of access to resources. Many of us are fortunate, and sometimes are complacent, regarding our ability to realise our rights, whether in terms of education, sexual and reproductive health care and rights, human rights, legal rights etc. The list is endless, and the gap is enormous. Millions of my gender haven’t even reached the first rung of the ladder in terms of what we consider to be the most basic things.
The Circle came about because I wanted to start a dialogue and have association with other women to become more engaged with these issues, and bring about change to bridge that gap.
The mission of The Circle is to inspire women and create an environment where they can come together to share experiences, harness their skills, draw on their resources and bring about lasting change. Ultimately, [the mission is] to support some of the most disempowered women and girls in the world, as they challenge and change the injustice of inequality.
Can you talk about why gender empowerment is important to you? How has the Internet helped to educate the world about gender equality and gender issues?
I have inherited the benefits that have improved my life from the sacrifices [made by] the women of the Suffragette movement, from my great-grandmother’s generation. I can’t take this for granted, especially as I have personally witnessed just how much work there is [still] to be done to change the outmoded attitudes and barbaric practices which systematically blight the lives of millions of women and girls globally.
The internet is unquestionably one of the most powerful vehicles of communication the world has ever seen. We can access countless organisations from every corner of the globe represented on the internet.
We can source information with our fingertips. Information is educational and EDUCATION brings POWER, which in turn brings CHANGE.
Why are the internet and social media so important to spreading a message about improving the lives of others?
In many countries, the issues affecting the empowerment of girls and women are frowned upon and seen as taboo. The internet can offer the opportunity for safe exchanges of information and dialogue without fear of reprisal or censorship. If used positively and constructively, it can clearly be a revolutionising, world-changing tool.
What does it mean to you to be a leader of the European Internet and the 2016 Lovie Person of the Year?
I’m absolutely thrilled, amazed and delighted by this award. I hope it can inspire more people to use the internet as a tool for advocacy and positive social activism.
From N=5’s winning work #Pridestream, to The Lovie Creators for Change Award winners Rose Ellen Dix and Rosie Spaughton, and Cheil London’s interactive app RE: Shakespeare,” The Lovie Letters collection of exclusive winner stories puts you inside the minds of the people responsible for Europe’s most innovative online projects shaping the Internet as we know it today.
See them all at www.lovieletters.eu.