festival

WOW – Women of the World

March 2019

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 and girls must have equal rights and asking the question: why is gender equality taking so long?

Southbank Centre's WOW – Women of the World festival is a global network of festivals which provides a platform for celebrating what has been achieved, and exploring all the ways we can change the world for the better.

In 2018, the year that marked the 100th anniversary since some women got the vote in the UK, and when #MeToo shook the world, we brought together artists, writers, politicians, comedians, activists and more for the 8th annual WOW London at Southbank Centre.

WOW 2018 would not have been possible without its generous sponsors and supporters: Bloomberg, UBS, American International Group Inc (AIG), The Chartered Insurance Institute and RELX group.

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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 2018 would not be possible without its generous sponsors and supporters: Bloomberg, UBS, American International Group Inc (AIG) and The Chartered Insurance Institute.

Current CII logo

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 stories

video
Ruby Wax in conversation about her new book, How to Be Human: The Manual
podcast
Speakers including MPs Jo Swinson, Anna Soubry, Sophie Walker and Tulip Siddiq share their experiences

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wow past festivals

shop WOW

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

Je Suis Feministe Tote Bag

Advantages of Being A Woman Artist Teatowel

Met Museum Mug by Guerrilla Girls

Frida Kahlo Little People