festival

WOW – Women of the World

WOW – Women of the World festival celebrates women and girls, and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential. 

Around the world, individuals and communities are insisting on the simple proposition that women must have equal rights and asking the question: 'Why is gender equality taking so long to achieve?' Southbank Centre's WOW - Women of the World festival is a global network of festivals which provides a platform for investigating this question.

WOW 2017 speakers included Angela Davis, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Gillian Anderson. We'll be back in London in 2018 with another incredible line-up.

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Read how the Swedish mansplaining hotline caused a domestic stir
The American civil rights advocate and leading scholar shares a few words
Will Brexit be good for women, or do they risk losing hard-won rights?
We asked Fatima about the challenges women face, and their hopes for the future
CII's report will be explored in Women's Risks in Life by empowering women to make friends with their future selves
Read about UBS Unique's initiatives for improving women's lives
See a few top picks for WOW festival 2017 chosen by Southbank Centre’s Youth Ambassadors
Hear about some of the things you can look forward to at WOW – Women of the World festival, returning Tuesday 7 – Sunday 12 March
Malala Yousafza talks about the systemic nature of gender inequality
Do we judge black women by whether or not they straighten their hair?
Emer O'Toole talks about how all hell broke loose when she put down her razor
Join Mariella Frostrup, Alice Walker and Pratibha Parmar in conversation
Naomi Wolf and others look at a society uncomfortable with people who look neither male nor female
Jody Day talks about creating a meaningful and fulfilling life without children
Watch actress and filmmaker Salma Hayek Pinault present a keynote speech at WOW festival
Gordon Brown is joined by Ziauddin Yousafzai, the father of Malala Yousafzai
The panel discuss why we need a men's festival
The Sun's Page 3 - a genuine problem, or just harmless fun?
The panel discussed narrowing the gender pay gap, quotas and boardrooms
Does popular culture still have a problem with black women?

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Southbank Centre Artistic Director Jude Kelly launched WOW – Women of the World in 2010 to mark the centenary of International Women’s Day, as a major global festival that celebrates women and girls and looks at the obstacles they face, where hundreds of women’s stories could be shared, feelings vented, fun had, minds influenced and hearts expanded.

In response to an overwhelming demand Southbank Centre have been fostering a growing global network of festivals. Already in four other countries WOW is scheduled to spread to four more next year, and throughout the same across the UK.

The ethos of WOW is to create a festival for everyone. It is bold and broad-based in its approach, both lively and serious, and feeds the demand to discuss anything and everything. It brings people together from all corners of society - both speakers and audience members - energising and providing the inspiration and tools to make change.

Bloomberg – the global business, financial information and news leader – is the founding supporter of WOW Women of the World festival. Bloomberg’s sponsorship builds on a long history of collaboration across Southbank Centre that encompasses a wide range of art exhibitions, public commissions and literature programmes.

Bloomberg Philanthropies supports charities and non-profit organisations worldwide, including a number of programmes that seek to address the challenges facing women across the globe, from maternal and reproductive health to women’s economic development.

WOW 2017 would not be possible without its generous sponsors and supporters: Bloomberg, UBS, American International Group Inc (AIG), The Chartered Insurance Institute, Aon, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Amal - A Saïd Foundation Project.

Southbank Centre is grateful to its WOW Gamechangers Richard and Rosamund Bernays, Michelle Chuang, Mary Anne Cordeiro, Caroline, Mary and Paul Cronson - the Evelyn Sharp Foundation, Ms Miel de Botton, Katie and Mark Denning, Catherine Petitgas, Lady Jill Shaw Ruddock CBE, Joana and Henrik Schliemann, India and Robert Wardrop and Mercedes Zobel for supporting WOW.

wow 2017 stories

video
The legendary activist talks about women, race and class in the post-Trump era
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Listen to the Nigerian novelist speaking live at Southbank Centre's Women of the World 2017

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A selection of our favourite shop items from the Women of the World festival

Somaliland Bag

Feminist T-Shirt

Little People: Coco Chanel

Japan Chocolate
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