WoW! Women of the World Festival

Post by Thandie

“Help us create a fairer world for everyone”

That’s the tagline for the WOW festival at London’s Southbank Centre (8th – 13th March 2016) and who could disagree with that!Thandie for WOW Festival

The WoW Festival is a cross-continent event launched by Jude Kelly, artistic director at Southbank, to champion gender equality, celebrate the achievements of women and girls everywhere and examine obstacles that keep us from fulfilling our potential.


‘Why is gender equality taking so long to achieve?’

That’s the question that’s on everyone’s lips at WoW and it’s a question that will be put out to all 15 WoW festivals around the world: Sydney, Cardiff, Alexandria, Hargeisa, New York, Karachi and Dhaka.

At every WoW festival you can expect talks,  debates, performances and workshops – it’s an opportunity to think, talk and exchange ideas, experiences and actions.

Jude Kelly, at the helm of the festival, was recognised as one of the Top 100 most powerful women in the UK by Woman’s Hour a few years ago.

Jude Kelly, photo credit David Levene for the Guardian

Jude Kelly. Photo David Levene for the Guardian

As an award-winning director and someone who’s talked about her experience with sexism in her younger years, her commitment to women’s involvement in arts and culture is crucial and inspiring.

Excitingly, Eve Ensler, of One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women and girls (The Vagina Monologues) has produced The Fruit Trilogy, a new set of short plays exploring the lives of four women. The premiere was shown at WoW festival last week and you can catch the performance at West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Thandie and Eve, One Billion Rising

Thandie and Eve, One Billion Rising


Other highlights of this year’s festival have included an International Women’s Day chat session with Radio 1 DJ, the fabulous Gemma Cairney.

Gemma Cairney

Gemma Cairney


Kay and I joined Gemma on a panel for Selfridges’ Beauty Project  ‘Pretty White Female’  back in 2014. We were joined by beauty journalist Anita Bhagwandas and the event was  chaired by Sali Hughes. My comments sparked debate which inspired my Post ‘Boots – A Love Story’.

Check out this panel chat from a few years ago at WOW, about the politics of afro hair and whether to weave or go natural. Just an example of the kind of thoughtful discussion that goes on at WoW.


Follow Women Of The World on Twitter

Follow Jude Kelly on Twitter 

Follow One Billion Rising on Twitter

Follow Gemma Cairney on Twitter, on instagram

Follow Anita Bhagwandas on Twitter

Follow Tease and Totes on Twitter



One thought on “WoW! Women of the World Festival

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  1. Hello Kay/Thandie,

    My name is Arana Fossett. I’m the Founder of The Topaz Club (, an online-based sisterhood for biracial/multiracial women of African/African-American descent who are racially and culturally mixed with other heritages. We do have members at our online community who do live over in the UK. It’s theme and focus I think will definitely be of interest to our UK-based Topaz members. I wish I had known about it so that some of our members could have gone to it (perhaps some did ;-> ).

    Our moderator at The Topaz Club is Shannon Luders-Manuel, who is a professional writer and who is also very actively involved in biracial/multiracial affairs here in the States (where I’m from and live).

    I want to share this resource with both of you. I will share your blog with my membership. I think the Topaz members will be very interested in reading your posts here at your blog. I also invite both of you to join us at The Topaz Club. You both are very welcome to share the wealth of resources you both have at your blogsite here, with us over at The Topaz Club.

    FOUNDER, The Topaz Club

    April 3, 2016 at 5:26 am

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