festival

WOW Global

WOW – Women of the World festival has expanded beyond Southbank Centre to tour the globe, uniting people from all corners of the world and society.

Celebrating women and girls around the world

Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, launched WOW London in 2011 to mark the centenary of International Women’s Day. Jude conceived WOW as a major global festival that not only celebrated women and girls around the world, but also looked at the obstacles they face. It would be a place where hundreds of women’s stories could be shared, feelings vented, fun had, minds influenced and hearts expanded. 

WOW quickly grew beyond the 21 acres of the Southbank Centre in response to an enthusiastic demand for a global network of festivals. Within a year of its debut in London, the festival began to expand. 

Since its launch in 2011, WOW has grown internationally with 20 festivals across five continents to date and over one million women and girls, men and boys taking part. From Finland to Folkestone and Derry to Dhaka, crossing further continents to Harlem and Hargeysa, Brisbane and Baltimore, WOW continues to grow and cross borders around the world.  

Platform for debate and discussion

WOW is for everyone. It is bold and broad-based in its approach, both lively and serious, and feeds the demand to discuss anything and everything, from revolutionary women, economics, politics and health, to sex, pop culture, sport and the arts. It brings people together from all corners of society – both speakers and audience members – energising and providing the inspiration and tools to make change.

The festival is planned through a series of community ‘think-in’ sessions and made up of talks, debates, performances, speed-mentoring, exhibitions, workshops and networking opportunities. 

Past speakers have included Malala Yousafzai, Gordon Brown MP, Patrick Stewart, Julie Walters, Shami Chakrabarti, Salma Hayek, Annie Lennox, Caitlin Moran, Vivienne Westwood, Grayson Perry, Sandi Toksvig, Leymah Gbowee, and Christine Lagarde.

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2 Mar 2017

Children & Young people
10:00 am, 2 Mar 2017
Explore how the arts can be used to challenge students’ perceptions of gender identity and equality

7 Mar 2017

Literature
Talks & Topics
7:00 pm, 7 Mar 2017
Will we ever live in a gender equal world? With no single country or culture having achieved parity yet, Sandi Toksvig quizzes author Catherine Mayer on this and her latest book.

8 Mar 2017

10:00 am, 8 Mar 2017
A day to explore equality and celebrate heroines for secondary school students
Jude Kelly Making a Speech at WOW

Free

Talks & Topics
Artists & Thinkers
6:45 pm, 8 Mar 2017
Six women from six continents give their top three predictions for the next 12 months
Literature
Poetry
7:30 pm, 8 Mar 2017
Celebrate writing by LGBT women in this collaborative event between Polari and WOW
Gigs
Folk & World
7:30 pm, 8 Mar 2017
Led by Peter Edwards, the Nu Civilisation Orchestra presents Joni Mitchell’s album Hejira

9 Mar 2017

Two Women Smiling in the Level 5 Function Room

Free

Talks & Topics
Children & Young people
7:30 pm, 9 Mar 2017
Discuss the relationship between women and social media in our monthly night for young creatives

10 Mar 2017

Literature
Talks & Topics
9:30 am, 10 Mar 2017 - 12 Mar 2017
Inspire yourself with discussions on topics that matter to women and girls over three days at WOW festival
Talks & Topics
Business & Economics
9:30 am, 10 Mar 2017
What do the events of the last 12 months mean for women and girls?
Literature
Talks & Topics
9:30 am, 10 Mar 2017 - 11 Mar 2017
Hear personal, local and global perspectives from women about business and the world of work in WOW Friday.
People at WOW Market Place

Free

11:00 am, 10 Mar 2017 - 12 Mar 2017
Browse the WOW Market stalls to gather ideas, do activities and find creative products
Talks & Topics
Business & Economics
11:30 am, 10 Mar 2017
Debate the pros and cons of the Brexit result with leading UK political voices
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
11:30 am, 10 Mar 2017
What can UK-based activists learn from their international sisters?
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
11:30 am, 10 Mar 2017
Find out how imposter syndrome is connected to gender and inequality in this talk
Talks & Topics
11:30 am, 10 Mar 2017
Do you want to ask for a pay rise but unsure how to go about it?
11:30 am, 10 Mar 2017
Learn the skills to help you step into the spotlight and take up space in this taster workshop
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
11:30 am, 10 Mar 2017
The path to justice for victims of rape or sexual assault is not an easy one anywhere in the world
Talks & Topics
Nature & Environment
11:30 am, 10 Mar 2017
Hear from women leaders in sustainability and environmental policy, locally and internationally
Talks & Topics
Business & Economics
11:30 am, 10 Mar 2017
What barriers do women face in getting their hangs on the purse strings?
11:30 am, 10 Mar 2017
Come along to this peer support group for mother-artists
Women at Louder Voices

Free

Choral
12:30 pm, 10 Mar 2017
Enjoy a short performance of empowering songs relating to women’s rights and power
Women at Workshop

Free

12:30 pm, 10 Mar 2017 - 12 Mar 2017
Come to the Action Stations to put into action plans inspired by what you've seen at WOW
Portrait of Singer, Nilufer Yanya

Free

Gigs
Rock & Pop
1:00 pm, 10 Mar 2017
Hear Nilüfer Yanya perform soulful music from her new EP Small Crimes
Talks & Topics
Gender Politics & Equality
1:15 pm, 10 Mar 2017
Women with long political careers bring their collective experience to WOW in this talk
Talks & Topics
Business & Economics
1:15 pm, 10 Mar 2017
Learn about gender-based pension inequalities and what you can do to protect yourself

WOW – Women of the World upcoming festivals

 2017
7 - 12 March - WOW London, UK #WOWLDN @WOWtweetUK Facebook

8 - 12 March - WOW Finland #WOWFIN @wow_finland Facebook

10 - 12 March - WOW Hull, UK

23 - 25 March - WOW Melbourne, Australia

4 - 7 May - WOW Apollo, New York, USA - #WOWApollo

wow stories

podcast
2014 was an unprecedented year for the rights of women and girls, but did some things go backward?
podcast
Discussion of human rights abuses against women

shop WOW

A selection of our favourite shop items from the Women of the World festival
Somali land Tote Bag

Somaliland Bag

Little People: Coco Chanel

Feminist T-Shirt

Japan Chocolate