For almost a decade, WOW Women of the World – a global movement for female empowerment – have been facilitating festivals around the world. Having started life in the Southbank in 2010, the brainchild of Jude Kelly CBE, festivals now span 17 countries and 5 continents reaching an estimated 2 million people. They create a space for world-renowned artists, activists, thinkers and performers to exchange ideas with us lowly feminist mortals.
This weekend – International Women’s Day 2019, should you have forgotten – the festival returns to its SE1 home with two excellent events that look to address the state of gender equality today.
First up, on Friday 8th March (the day itself), What Now? looks at the here and now: from politics to financial empowerment, toxic masculinity to the intersection of sexism, racism and homophobia.
Superstar Annie Lennox leads a conversation on Global Feminism, and how local activism can turn into international solidarity. Julia Gillard, the first woman Prime Minister of Australia, talks about resilience and her mission to dispel the myths about female leadership.
Other speakers include: Gina Miller, the woman who successfully challenged the UK government’s authority to trigger Article 50; Rizzle Kicks musician and actor Jordan Stephens on the effects of toxic masculinity; Scarlett Curtis, curator of Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (and Other Lies); as well as spoken word from some of the UK’s best established and up and coming poets.
The following day (Sat 9th March), WOW ask, What’s Next? – and present some of the artists, thinkers, and activists who are bringing new thinking and ideas to transform the world. Speakers include telly icon Sandi Toksvig, model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, bestselling author Reshma Saujani (Founder of Girls Who Code) and none other than Lily Allen, in the wake of her book My Thoughts Exactly.
What Next? also invites a group of First Nations and Indigenous women to discuss how women leaders are practising a new model of global leadership in the face of colonial power and its ongoing legacies.
WOW(zers)! Better hot-foot it to the Southbank Centre sharpish.
Main Image: Wow Women of the World