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'Men couldn’t cope with motherhood - they’d drop dead’

By Gemma Peplow, entertainment reporter
"I feel like every ounce of my DNA is feminist," states Paloma Faith at the start of our interview.
"It's sad to me that my mother's generation spent so much energy in the name of progress and the feminist movement in the '60s, that it's so slow… by now it really should be equal but it's far from it."
Faith - singer, actress, prime-time TV talent show judge, and feminist, most importantly - is one of the voices backing the Girls Get Equal campaign organised by Plan International, and the question isn't why she wanted to get involved, she says, but why wouldn't she? Why wouldn't any woman?Raised a feminist by her "incredibly inspiring" single mum, it's a subject Faith wishes she didn't have to speak about, but she does, passionately talking a blue streak, because at the minute, the wheels of change are not turning quickly enough.The reality is that parity may not be achieved in her lifetime."I think at this pace, the gender pay gap would be closed in 118 more years," she says, statistics to hand. "Facts like that just astound me."When you look at the percentage of women in government on a global scale it's just all very low percentages. In my own industry, for example, I think it's 17% of the hundred most powerful people in music are female."There's lots of statistics flying around but I think people don't really realise how terribly grand a gap it is. I'm just really happy to be here speaking about it and getting involved in empowering other girls."

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In an era that has seen a tidal wave of interest in gender equality - with the Harvey Weinstein scandal bringing power and sexual misconduct to the fore and the BBC salary reveal highlighting the gender pay gap - now is the time to speak out.Rather than getting angry, Faith is impassioned. She wants to use her status to help alter perceived stereotypes of women, to show the leadership qualities and power of women and girls.To show that girls can indeed run the world."I feel like anger is a pretty useless emotion when it comes to enforcing change," she says."I was raised by an incredibly inspiring woman who raised me by herself and as a feminist, and I've been sort of grown in a way, cultivated to believe that everything in my wildest dreams is possible."I ended up achieving more than I ever thought I would. I attribute a lot of that to my mum, the way she brought me up."The Girls Get Equal campaign aims to catalyse change in gender equality, and Faith is on a mission. Cultural norms need to be restructured, she says, and that will only happen when both men and women work together.In the music industry, sexism is still a long way away from being wiped out, but, perhaps thanks to the confidence instilled in her by her mother when she was young, Faith has never stood for it."I've managed to navigate my way through the music industry that's predominantly male and never taken my clothes off to do it," she says."There's lots of situations in these industries where that kind of thing comes on your doorstep. I've never had that happen because I walk into every meeting that I go into - and usually it's a room full of men - and I speak first and I speak last."She laughs. "That's just the person I am. I've never felt like I had to… it sort of riles me up if I ever feel… If I'm made to feel as if I need to apologise or play a certain role."
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