Women of the World festival

The Women of the World festival at Southbank Centre champions gender equality, celebrating the achievements of women and girls everywhere and examining the obstacles that keep them from fulfilling their potential, giving inspiration this International Women’s Day

by Ellen Tout

Women of the world

Women of the World (WOW) events take place until 12 March with talks from influential and challenging speakers - take part in mentoring sessions and workshops and see some of the best female comedians, musicians, performers and writers around.

The Southbank Centre’s artistic director Jude Kelly launched WOW in 2011 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.

The ethos of WOW is to create a festival for everyone. It is 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.

Co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party Catherine Mayer kicks off WOW with the launch of her new book, Attack of the 50Ft. Women: How Gender Equality Can Save The World (HQ, £20), and on the eve of its publication will speak in conversation with Sandi Toksvig. This looks at why no single country or culture has yet achieved parity and whether we will ever live in a gender equal world.

Highlights of this year’s festival include actress, writer and activist Gillian Anderson and broadcaster, writer and activist Jennifer Nadel who will launch their new book WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere (Atria Books, £15), an inspiring and provocative manifesto for change, proposing a process and vision for a more fulfilling way of living.

Southbank Centre’s artist in residence, TV and radio personality, journalist and teen ambassador Gemma Cairney will also present her new book OPEN: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be (Macmillan, £12.99).

Other speakers include Harriet Harman, Angela Davis, Elif Şafak, Fatima Manji, Chella Quint, Margaret Hodge MP, Baroness Jenkin, Dr Sue Black OBE, Dr Elina Berglund Scherwitzl, Edie Jones and Maria Munir.

The Women of the World 2017 programme is now on sale, with information on day and weekend passes as well as one–off events available here.

Watch this video to find out more about Women of the World 2017

Main image: WOW 2016, Belinda Lawley. Second image: Jude Kelly at WOW 2016.

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