Mel C says ''girl power'' was created by the sexism the Spice Girls encountered in the music business in the 90s.

The 44-year-old star was part of the 'Wannabe' group alongside Mel B, Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton and Geri Horner [Née Halliwell], and says they created their famous slogan of empowerment in the 90s in reaction to the discrimination they experienced, which included being snubbed from being cover stars on magazines.

She said: ''Girl power was something that we never intended. When we started we were a pop group and we just wanted to sing and be famous and travel the world and we never really thought about that side of things at all. But, as soon as we were heading into the music industry, we started to be faced with some sexism. We were told girls don't sell. We would go into magazines and editors would tell us, 'We can't put you on the cover because we won't sell enough magazines that week.' ''

The 'Northern Star' hitmaker - who has gone onto have solo success - realised as soon as they started their campaign for equality as a group that it would apply to all females.

She said: ''That really made us have a bee in our bonnets and that's when we started talking about Girl Power. We realised we had something really important to say. It gave us even more determination to succeed because we realised very early on, we weren't just doing it for ourselves and each other, we were doing it for girls. Being told we couldn't do something was like a red rag to a bull to the Spice Girls.''

However, Mel says things are changing and that there are more and more female pop stars taking over the world than ever before, which she believes the 'Say You'll Be There' hitmakers can take some credit for.

Speaking to Music Week editor Mark Sutherland at AIM's annual Women In Music event, she shared: ''The Spice Girls did have incredible success and made a lot of people lots of money - and that's a funny old thing for changing people's minds.

''In the last decade or so, the majority of the biggest artists in the world have been women. That's never happened before. I like to think that the success of the Spice Girls opened doors for that to happen.''