I released a single late last year called 'Chicks'. A pop song, if you like. I didn't consider, when I wrote it, that the subject matter was especially brave or honest. It came about as a result of recurring conversations with friends, many of us in our early 30s, most of us without children. It felt natural to voice our shared experiences, our ambivalence and ambition.

The reviews I got were amusing, ranging from "Sounds like Lail Arad is ready to have a baby!" to "Girl Power! This song proves women aren't slaves to their bodies!" I was struck by the surprised tone of one radio DJ in particular, explaining to the listeners that yes, "this next track really does tackle... well, um... the old biological clock!". The DJ was a woman. I realised then that we still have a long way to go - in branching out from the accepted love song territory (though 'Chicks' is very much a love song) - and in bringing current women's discourse into the public realm. In 2017 it really shouldn't be so shocking to sing about the career/family quandary that so very many women face.

I watched Vera Drake for the first time last week, and it hasn't left me. I was moved by the humanity of the characters and performances alike. Only the 1950s setting made the heartbreak palatable: this would never happen now. Yet perhaps that is naive, and perhaps it is precisely why it doesn't leave my mind. It is hard to accept that we're living in a terrifying new political era, where linear progress is no longer a given. Where long-established women's rights are in danger, let alone those battles not yet won. Where a kind, well-meaning woman could find herself in prison for undertaking illegal abortions, or as Vera put it, helping girls out. This was everything that film should be - opening our eyes to other people's experiences, stretching us to reflect on our own.

One perk of my spending time in North America recently is being able to watch the final season of Girls in real time when it plays on HBO, without porn screens flashing up reminding me to feel bad for streaming. I've been a loyal fan of the show since that very first restaurant scene with Hannah's parents, from which it was clear that it was going to be as on point as it was funny. There aren't many TV series that have done as much for laying bare the social realities of my gender and generation, celebrating the imperfections and provoking conversation. There was a great article in The New Yorker about the recent episode 3, in which Hannah has a programme-long conversation with a successful male author, who has summoned her to his apartment after she wrote an article about the sexual allegations against him. His aim was to convince her of his blamelessness, before seducing her.

The brilliance of the show was that it took the viewer - or at least me - along for the ride. I was in turn repulsed and charmed by this man, convinced and converted by his flattery and intellect, before hating myself for it. The brief hand-on-penis moment was, almost, comical. This was not the rape scene in Vera Drake; there was no force, only literary name-dropping and mind games. It was every shade of grey area, and purposefully so. That is the dialogue that Lena Dunham is so brilliantly injecting into our psyche - and it's the sophisticated level of sexual politics we should all be ready to tackle. It's surely about time to identify the power play that so often leads women into compromising situations with their professors or bosses or idols, however consensual, and which has been so normalised in our culture that it takes a moment, or an episode, to realise why exactly it's so wrong. Identifying our remaining struggles as women - stamping out the last traces of exploitation and harassment, establishing our choices as both mothers and professionals - wouldn't it be nice if this was all that was left to do.

Yet with a US President who boasts of grabbing pussy, the rise of Pro-Life politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, the civil liberties of the entire LGBT communities threatened, we are desperately far from where the conversations, or realities, should be. These are not subtle times. January's Women's Marches across the globe were phenomenal and moving to be a part of. They felt as unifying and empowering as the issues feel daunting. My favourite placard came from a song: 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun-damental Rights!" It's a witty and inspired appropriation, building on the fighting spirit of a truly idiosyncratic song: Musically, vocally, lyrically, it succeeds in championing women's social demands - not despite its musical format - but through utterly embracing its pop sensibilities. In a beautiful twist, Cyndi Lauper has just launched a T-Shirt with the adapted slogan to raise money for Planned Parenthood and True Colors Fund.

Film and TV have a huge responsibility in furthering feminist dialogue, but music mustn't let itself off easy. Pop is too powerful to be lazy - it is the perfect packaging for exploring, exposing and expanding the conversation. Protest songs cannot be considered a separate genre and female subject matters cannot be discarded as political. Whether we're tuning into the issues that feel too huge and global to fix, or those that feel too small and private to confess, it's time we turned up the volume on women's rights and made a song and dance about it.

Lail Arad's residency at The Society Club Shoreditch kicks off this April. For more information, head here.